In a game where both teams played great defense, the Singapore Slingers successfully held off the BTN CLS Knights on the road, 60-63.
Singapore is now one win away from winning their first ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) title after gaining a 2-1 advantage in the Finals.
The two teams were neck-and-neck for the majority of the game, with neither side being able to extend their lead to double-digits.
A clutch layup from the Slingers’ Xavier Alexander, who finished with 11 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists, gave the visitors a three-point lead with 26 seconds remaining in the game.
However, a missed free throw and a n untimely foul commited by Delvin Goh put Knights forward Brandon Jawato (13 points) at the charity stripe with the opportunity to even the game at 61-apiece with just over three seconds left.
Lucky for Singapore, the Indonesian-American guard could not convert on the first attempt, and the home team missed a tough outside shot at the buzzer to lose only their fourth home game since the beginning the season, notably twice against the Slingers.
Despite missing the game-tying three at the end, Maxie Esho led all scorers with 19 points while also recorded team-high 13 boards and three blocks. Douglas Herring added 13 points and seven assists but that wasn’t enough to cover for Darryl Watkins’s forgettable night (five points off 1-for-9 shooting).
On the visiting side, besides the all-around performance of newly-crowned world import MVP Alexander, John Fields had a double double of 16 and 14 while Jerran Young was huge off the bench for Singapore with 16 points, nine rebounds, four steals and three blocks.
With this victory, the next game could allow Singapore to take home their first-ever ABL championship by winning on the road againt CLS, who will surely do their best to force a fifth game.
Game 4 will once again take place on Saturday May 11th at GOR Kertajaya in Surabaya, Indonesia.
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