Wong Wei Long and the Singapore Slingers are making their returns back to the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) Finals, albeit in rather different circumstances as the last time around.
Both Wong and the Slingers were absent from last season’s championship series, with the former taking a year off from his professional career to focus on business ventures, while the latter missed out on the big dance after bowing out early in the playoffs.
During the ensuing off-season, shocking news arose that Wong, a Singapore-native, had officially signed to join the CLS Knights Indonesia for the then upcoming 2018-19 ABL season.
As the main point guard for the Knights, Wong helped lead the Surabaya-based squad to a 15-11 record and all the way through to the championship round against, ironically, his former team of eight years.
“Don’t really have that special motivation. I’m treating all Finals games the same way I treated any game all season. Doing the same routine before game, getting myself and my teammates pumped up at the get-go.”
While denying having any personal vendetta in competing against the Slingers for the championship, the two-time ABL Local Most Valuable Player did admit having some fun playing against his former teammates.
“I enjoy every moment I play against them. Like me and Desmond (Oh), we were defending one another and we had talks during the game,” Wong shared.
“I have many good friends – I grew up in Singapore and trained with them every year in the national team since I was 16 years old. Coach Neo Beng Siang has also mentored me for the past 12 years before he stepped down as the national team head coach two years ago.”
The 5-foot-9 point guard will be returning to the Finals for the first time since making back-to-back appearances with the Slingers between 2015-2017, giving him another shot to win his first ever league championship.
“My third consecutive year to the ABL finals will provide me with the experience to handle tough situations better,” expressed Wong, bucking any pressure as he tries to deny his old mates the championship they once fought to win together.
“I feel really good to be back again for another championship run, (this time) with my current teammates. I’m excited to see how the games turn out to be. Making my open shots and creating open looks for my teammates.”
Wong looks to lead the Knights as they are set to play their first ever ABL Finals match on the road against the Singapore Slingers tonight at the OCBC Arena.
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