The Singapore Slingers jumped ahead into the top of the ABL standings after defeating the Mono Vampire Basketball Club, 73-65, at the OCBC Arena in Singapore.
In the first game back since the Christmas break, the Slingers looked incredibly sharp and focused, even putting up a 19-point lead late in the third quarter.
The Slingers were without their lead guard Wong Wei Long as he was serving the first of a two-game suspension after an altercation with Westports Malaysia Dragons’ Yi Hou Wong. Even without the former Most Valuable Player of the locals division, the Slingers still had huge contributions from their imports.
Xavier Alexander nearly had a triple-double, putting up 22 points, 11 rebounds, and 8 assists. Justin Howard also contributed with 17 points and 9 boards while Qingde Wu was the high-point man of the locals with his 12 points, including 3-of-5 from downtown.
The Mono Vampire Basketball Club meanwhile debuted their new head coach Soonthornpong Mawinthorn and new world import Michael Fey, who replaced Paul Butorac. Mono did show flashes of brilliance late in the contest but it was evident that the team will need more time and experience in light of their personnel change.
By half-time, the Slingers were well ahead with a 39-26 lead thanks to their hot shooting at 51 percent while also limiting Mono to just 32 percent.
It looked like it was going to be an easy win for Singapore but Mono fought back in the final period. The Vampires chipped away the lead and even got it down to just two points after a Ratdech Kruatiwa triple with less than three minutes remaining.
Michael Fey was also critical down the stretch, getting rebounds and defending the twin towers of Singapore. Fey ended up with just 11 points on 5-for-13 shooting but he did have 8 rebounds and was instrumental in battling Singapore’s Howard and Alexander.
Just as Mono was making its valiant comeback, the Slingers were able to come away with the victory thanks to timely shots spearheaded by Wei Jie Desmond Oh who hit back-to-back three-pointers with a minute left.
The Slingers also relied on their length and rebounding to get crucial second chance opportunities late in the game. Mono tried their best to counter the endgame execution of the Slingers but time ran out for them unfortunately.
Mono drops to 2-10 while Singapore is in solo first place at 9-2.