The Singapore Slingers hardly needed homecourt advantage as they eliminated Hong Kong Eastern on the road in Game 2 of the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) semifinals.
After blowing out the Hong Kong side at home in Game 1, the Slingers brought over some of that momentum and took an early nine-point advantage, before settling for a 19-12 lead at the end of the first quarter.
The Slingers’ lead ballooned to as much as 12 in the second period, but a late rally by the home squad reduced it down to five before halftime, 43-38. Eastern finally took the lead after an O’Darien Bassett jumpshot at the 6:40 mark of the third period, but the Slingers’ John Fields quickly answered back with a short jumper of his own.
Bassett and Slingers guard Jerran Young nearly figured in a physical altercation after the latter took offense to a hard foul given up by the Eastern guard at the two-minute mark of the third period. The home team benefited from this as Young was assessed an unsportsmanlike foul, sparking a nine-point swing in their favor which was capped off by Marcus Elliott’s buzzer-beating three from the top of the key.
Lee Ki opened the final period with a three from the left corner to give Hong Kong their biggest lead of the game at 65-56. However, the Slingers were relentless, going on a 13-4 run to keep themselves within two points with a little over five minutes remaining in the game.
Singapore raced back to tie the game at 71-apiece, before making three free throws to put them back up by three points. Bassett converted a layup with 36.4 seconds remaining to cut the lead to one, but John Fields gave the visitors a 76-73 lead after nailing a short jumper.
Eastern had 24 seconds on the clock to force a tie, but Elliott missed a short teardrop, forcing them to play the foul game. John Fields iced the game with four consecutive points to finish with 26 markers, 10 rebounds, and two blocked shots, giving his team the 80-73 victory.
Xavier Alexander completed a triple-double with 22 points, 16 rebounds, and 11 assists, while Jerran Young added 15 points and 11 boards. With his triple-double against Eastern on Wednesday evening, Alexander moved into sole possession of first place for most in a career in ABL history at seven. He was previously tied with Marcus Elliot.
Meanwhile, Eastern big man Michael Holyfield finished with 18 points, 21 boards, and five blocks, while Marcus Elliott and O’Darien Bassett added 20 and 18 markers, respectively. Chan Siu Wing added 10 points in the loss as the only local to finish in double-digits in this game.
With the win, Singapore earned their first Finals stint since making back-to-back appearances between 2015-2017, giving them another shot to win their first league championship.
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