John Fields scored a game-high 25 points and Xavier Alexander added another 23 to help the Singapore Slingers defeat the CLS Knights and secure a spot in the 2019 ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) playoffs.
Controlling much of the game for the first three quarters of their Wednesday evening matchup against the visiting Slingers, the home-sided Knights were able to build up a lead that extended into double digits following a three-pointer by Maxie Esho. With 5:51 left to play in the third quarter, the Indonesian squad were sitting on a 10-point advantage over their counterpart at a score of 45-35.
However, a resistant Singapore team only needed less than a minute to slice their deficit in half after a Delvin Goh layup and a Larry Liew long bomb, preventing the hosts from breaking the game open.
The final quarter turned into a tight back-and-forth affair as the two teams fought for control, but it was Xavier Alexander who pulled out the superhero cape and helped guide his team down the stretch.
The Slingers world import was able to muster together 11 points in the quarter, including a big go-ahead basket in the game’s most crucial stage to put his team ahead by two with 1:11 left to play. He then hit a fadeaway jumper that pushed his team’s lead to three points following a made Darryl Watkins free throw with just 27 seconds remaining.
Douglas Herring kept the game within reach for the Knights with a layup that cut the Slingers’ lead back to one point with 19 seconds on the clock, but Liew iced the game for good by converting two clutch free throws to seal a 71-68 victory for the visitors.
With the win, the Slingers officially punched their way into the deep waters of the 2018-2019 ABL season.
Both teams are set to see action again on March 3, with the Singapore Slingers hosting Alab Pilipinas in a battle of two playoff-bound squads at OCBC Arena, while the CLS Knights will welcome a Westports Malaysia Dragons unit that is locked up in a fight for the league’s final playoff spot inside of GOR Basket Kertajaya.
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