With their backs against the wall, the BTN CLS Knights played inspired basketball in their defeat of the Singapore Slingers in Game 4 of the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) Finals.
The Knights successfully evened the championship series at two-games apiece after securing an 87-74 victory in front of a sold out GOR Kertajaya crowd to force a deciding fifth game back in Singapore on Wednesday.
“I want to thank the fans first for tonight, and obviously the fans here are great,” said Knights head coach Brian Rowsom. “I told our guys that we can come in tonight to thank them, and so I want to thank the fans for all their support. And we played a good team game today, we finished our inside shots a lot better today.”
CLS big man Darryl Watkins led all scorers in Game 4 as he finished with 28 points to go with 16 boards, while Maxie Esho and Indonesian-American forward Brandon Jawato added 20 and 17 points respectively.
As a former long-time professional big man himself, the former Charlotte Hornets forward knows how important it is for his team to dominate the post.
“Watkins was a lot different, he played a lot different, better, and we got them to foul trouble and that was a big difference for us. Tonight, we played a little bit faster. You saw we got a few more fastbreaks and that came from good defense. A lot better rebounding also. We didn’t give them second shots. We got the rebound, we didn’t allowed them to go on fastbreaks,” added the towering head coach.
Rowsom also credited limiting newly-minted Import Most Valuable Player Xavier Alexander as much as possible as a key in the victory.
“Not really shut down, but just contain him and make him shoot a low percentage,” said Rowsom. “You know he’s a difficult player because he handles the ball a lot. Tonight he had 25 points, but if we could contain him and just keep Fields and Young down in the low post because they are very good in Singapore, it will be important for us on Wednesday.”
Alexander still came out as the best player for the Singaporean side, adding seven boards and five dimes to his scoring output. But Jerran Young struggled offensively with 13 markers, while John Fields finished with 11 points and 10 rebounds as he was hindered with foul trouble.
Rowsom also addressed another issue the Knights will have to address if they are to win the title on Wednesday: “We still need to work on our free throws. We missed eight. In the first half, we missed four or five. We could have had a bigger lead at halftime, so that’s something we have to focus on for the next game.”
“I told my team that the pressure is on Singapore now,” he continued. “We are not even supposed to be here, but I’m going there with the attitude of winning and coming back in Surabaya with the championship on Thursday.”
The winner-take-all Game 5 of the championship series between the CLS Knights Indonesia and the Singapore Slingers will be held at the OCBC Arena in Singapore on Wednesday, May 15th.
Follow us on Twitter at @aseansports1.