Merlion Cup hosts, the Singapore Slingers, have prepared to defend their home floor at the upcoming 2017 tournament against even tougher competition. The team feels confident of their chances this year with support from home fans and a competitive line-up that was given a boost by some players returning back to action.
We will see the return of 2017 Southeast Asian Games standout Russell Low and his frontcourt mate Delvin Goh. Both were held out of the previous edition of the Merlion Cup and the majority of the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) season owing to different commitments. The team will still be without Larry Liew who is serving full-time in the police force and Wu Qingde due to another unfortunate injury though.
The Slingers have also announced the return of their ever reliable import Xavier Alexander, but they will notably be without their other star reinforcement, Justin Howard. There has been no word so far regarding whether they have tried to bring Howard back for the upcoming ABL season, but the Canadian Ryan Wright will take his spot for at least the duration of this tournament.
The team will be hoping to give their fans a good show while competing against some of the top flight teams around the region.
“The teams playing for this year’s Merlion Cup are tough, but we are always ready to take on this challenge. There is always renewed vigor playing tournaments in Singapore especially with the supporters encouraging and cheering us on. We hope that we can continue to inspire local basketball players and that we can help in the continuous development of the sport in the country,” says 31-year old captain Desmond Oh.
Veteran coach Neo Beng Siang adds: “The team is pumped to battle at the Merlion Cup in front of our home fans. We’ll see fantastic regional stars as well as former NBA players and we are looking forward to taking on the best in the region. International tournaments such as the Merlion Cup bring the best talents together and it’s our chance to show fans that we can compete at the highest level.”
“The Slingers have had an exciting past few seasons making it to the ABL Finals two straight years.” Coach Neo also reiterates that the annual tournament will serve as a good precedent to the upcoming ASEAN Basketball League season. “The Merlion Cup is also valuable preparation for our 2017-18 ABL season.”
Filipino guard Mikee Reyes, who played a short stint with the Kaohsiung Truth in the ABL last season will join two-time ABL local MVP Wong Wei Long, Lim Jun Yuan, Tay Ding Loon, Toh Qing Huang, Leon Kwek, and Ng Hanbin to complete the cast.
2017 MERLION CUP ROSTER
Head Coach, Neo Beng Siang
Assistant Coach/Team Manager, Michael Johnson
#1 Lim Jun Yuan – Point Guard
#2 Oh Wei Jie Desmond – Shooting Guard
#3 Reyes Mikee – Point Guard
#5 Wong Wei Long – Shooting Guard
#6 Tay Ding Loon – Small Forward
#8 Toh Qing Huang – Small Forward
#10 Kwek Wei Meng Leon – Small Forward
#15 Alexander Xavier Allen – Small Forward
#17 Ng Han Bin – Small Forward
#23 Goh Kok Chiang Delvin – Power Forward
#32 Low Wenqiang Russell – Center
#35 Wright Ryan Bradley – Center