The Merlion Cup hosts Singapore Slingers managed to keep it close with the Shanghai Sharks for the most part of their game, but the Chinese Basketball Association quarterfinalists were able to pull away in the final quarter.

While the Slingers were pretty reliant on imports Xavier Alexander and Ryan Wright for their points, the Sharks were able to sustain a balanced attack from their locals throughout as they played with only one reinforcement after former NBA guard Jimmer Fredette was ruled out with a minor knee injury.

The 7’3’’ Max Zhang had eight points and six rebounds at the half for the Sharks while Alexander and Wright were the only Slingers in double figures with 13 and 11 respectively. The score was still in favor of the Sharks at intermission, 36-33.

The Shark’s only import, Nick Minnerath, woke up in the third quarter as he scored five quick points early on with a three-pointer and a fade away jumper to extend the lead to 10 points.

Xavier Alexander put in his own eight straight points to help put the Slingers ahead by one, 48-47.  Both teams continued with the back-and-forth until Wei Long hit a three with 2.2 seconds left in the quarter, cutting the deficit to one, but Desmond was called for a blocking foul at the buzzer and Lu Wei hit two free throws to close the third to keep the Sharks ahead at 57-54.

The game broke open from then on: Sharks guard Cai Liang hit back-to-back three-point shots before Lu Wei hit another one to give the Sharks a 12-point lead, their biggest lead of the game with less than seven minutes to play. Cai went coast-to-coast with a layup which brought their lead up back to 10 with 1:30 remaining in the game and proved to be the deciding basket.

Singapore managed to sneak in a break-away dunk from Wright and an open Ng Hanbin jumper at the buzzer to cut the final score to 73-67.

Slingers imports Alexander and Wright were held to a combined seven points in the deciding quarter, but finished with 26 and 19 points respectively. Starting guard Wong Weilong pitched in with nine.

The Sharks were led by Nick Minnerath’s 14 points and were also aided by 12 points apiece from locals Shi Yuchen and Luo Hanchen.

Shanghai will play the winner of the KCC Jeonju Egis and Adelaide 36ers semifinal game. Singapore will play the 3rd place match against the loser of that game.

Quarter scores: 18-16, 36-33, 57-54, 73-67.