The 2016-2017 season was yet another case of “so close, yet so far” for the Singapore Slingers. One of only two teams that have participated in every ASEAN Basketball League season, the Slingers finished as runners-up for the second consecutive season, falling to Hong Kong Eastern, 1-3, in the playoff finals. The Singaporean side will look to make the third time a charm, as they retain a majority of their line up from the prior season to resolve their unfinished business.


ICYMI

The Slingers had a busy summer, as key locals were playing on behalf of their country during the 2017 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur. Singapore finished a respectable fourth, giving the tournament favorite and eventual gold medalists, the Philippines, a close fight in the semifinals.

They also participated at the club level alongside their imports at the 2017 Merlion Cup for the second year in a row, facing high level competition from Australia, China, South Korea and Taiwan. The Slingers also finished fourth in the tournament, but not before giving CBA giants, the Shanghai Sharks, a spirited fight in the semis, losing only 67-73.


THREE POINTS

  The Slingers did not renew the contract of Justin Howard.

Howard, their 6 ft 10 American Center, played two seasons with the team, and led them to the finals on both occasions. He was also the ABL’s Defensive Player Of The Year for the 2016-2017 season. The big man would go on to sign for the league newcomers from China, Nanhai Kung Fu. The Slingers would sign experienced 30 year old and 6 ft 9 Canadian, Ryan Wright, to fill in his shoes. Wright is set to bring in a strong, dynamic athleticism to the Slingers offense and defense. Influential swingman, Xavier Alexander, will return for his third season with the team.

  Continuing to adopt their one less heritage import policy with the goal of long term development for their local players.

The Slingers have only signed one heritage import, 30 year old Filipino-Canadian guard, AJ Mandani. He comes in with four years of experience from the PBA with his most recent team being the Nakorn Phantom Madgoats, playing from the Thailand Basketball League.

  The team said goodbye to their all-time leading scorer and two time local MVP, Wong Wei Long.

Wei Long opted not to sign with the Slingers for the season to instead, focus on his coaching and business career. The Slingers, however, managed to bring back big man Russell Low on a permanent basis, a player who impressed many with his performances at the recent SEA Games. Key locals, Delvin Goh and Leon Kwek, will also have their playing schedules affected due to their commitments to National Service, a mandatory military training stint enforced by the government for all male citizens.


KEY ADDITION(S)

PHOTO CREDIT: KIMS PRODUCTION


RYAN WRIGHT

(Forward/Center, World Import)


   2017 Australian League Season Stats

18 Games | 17.7 PPG | 7.9 RPG | 0.9 APG | 57% FG | 2.8 TOPG


KEY DEPARTURE(S)

PHOTO CREDIT: ASEAN BASKETBALL LEAGUE


JUSTIN HOWARD

(Center, World Import)


   2016-2017 ABL Season Stats

24 Games | 24.5 PPG | 18.3 RPG | 2.5 APG | 51% FG | 1.2 BPG | 4.3 TOPG

 

PHOTO CREDIT: ASEAN BASKETBALL LEAGUE


WONG WEI LONG

(Guard/Forward, Local)


   2016-2017 ABL Season Stats

25 Games | 10.7 PPG | 2.8 RPG | 2.5 APG | 32% 3P | 0.8 STPG | 2.0 TOPG


X-FACTOR

PHOTO CREDIT: ASEAN BASKETBALL LEAGUE


XAVIER ALEXANDER

(Forward, World Import)


   2016-2017 ABL Season Stats

25 Games | 19.3 PPG | 9.8 RPG | 6.2 APG | 49% FG | 2.7 STPG | 0.8 BPG | 2.9 TOPG


LOCAL TO WATCH

PHOTO CREDIT: ONVISA THEWPHAINGARM


RUSSEL LOW

(Forward/Center)


   2017 SEA Games Stats

6 Games | 15.4 PPG | 6.7 RPG


LATEST ROSTER

Head Coach: Neo Beng Siang

Local: #1 Lim Jun Yuan (174 cm, 78 kg)

Local: #2 Desmond Oh (178cm, 82 kg)

Local: #6 Tay Ding Loon (183 cm, 82 kg)

Local: #7 Wu Qingde (188 cm, 70 kg)

Local: #10 Leon Kwek Wi Ming (188 cm, 72 kg)

Local: #17 Ng Han Bin (194 cm, 86 kg)

Local: #22 Kelvin Lim (190 cm, 76 kg)

Local: #23 Delvin Goh (202 cm, 95 kg)

Local: #32 Russel Low (200 cm, 105 kg)

ASEAN Import: #12 AJ Mandani (180 cm, 84 kg)

World Import: #4 Ryan Wright (210 cm, 109 kg)

World Import: #15 Xavier Alexander (195 cm, 102 kg)


BOTTOM LINE

The Slingers might be rocked by the departures of Howard and Wei Long, but their tried and tested system has brought them much success in the past two seasons, taking them all the way to the finals with only three imports. Led once again by their Singaporean coach, Neo Beng Siang, the Slingers are expected to be one of the top contenders once again in their quest to finally lift the ABL Championship for the first time in their storied history.