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Slingers to Rely on Team Defense Against Hi-Tech - Feb 27, 2016

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The Singapore Slingers go head-to-head against the defending champions Hi-Tech Bangkok City in a semifinals bout to determine who gets to book a ticket to the ASEAN Basketball League Finals. The Slingers came out swinging in the regular season in which they won 16 of their 20 games, including a sensational 10-game winning streak. They have been on top of the standings right from the get-go and haven't looked back since. They are entering the semifinals as the number two seed and Hi-Tech as the number three. Yet despite their success during the eliminations, Slingers Assistant Coach Johnson Michael is quick to point out that they can still get better. 'Defensively, probably in the last three or four games, we haven't been where want to be, where we can be, and where we were when he had our 10-game winning streak,' Coach Johnson explained. 'So we gotta lot of work to do.' During their winning streak, they allowed only 65.4 points from their opponents. Their defense was unrelenting and unforgiving as they displayed great discipline in both the perimeter and shaded lane. For certain stretches, they would even unleash a vicious full-court press that would catch opposing teams off guard. Their defense will be put to test when they go up against the formidable Hi-Tech Bangkok City. 'We're gonna play the defending champions and we need to get back on track on our team defense to stand a chance against them,' the coach said. 'The key thing for us is our team defense. Not always do we get that as well as the scoring but once we do that, we'll be fine.' Aside from their exemplary defense, the Slingers have also leaned on their local players. Guys like last year's Local MVP Wong Wei Long (187-G-88), Desmond Oh (178-SG-86), Delvin Goh, and Wu Qingde (187-G-92) have all stepped up their games to help Singapore succeed. They have a deep rotation that can stand tall with anybody in the league. 'We are regularly having 50 or 60 percent of our points scored by our local players and that's fantastic,' Johnson said proudly. 'And it's great for our imports as well - less relying on them day in and day out.' Johnson also credited their work in the last three or four years for developing their young local talent and not just this season. 'We're starting to see the fruition of that work,' he added. Singapore and Bangkok also met last year in the semifinals round in which Hi-Tech won and eventually would go on to claim last year's ABL title. This year, Singapore hopes to have lady luck in their favor in their quest to finally get into the promise land. 'We have home court advantage this year, which we worked hard to get, so hopefully that'll be what we need to get over the hump and get to our first Finals,' said the long-time assistant coach of the Slingers. 'But they'll be tough to beat, they're the defending champions. Chris (Charles), Steve (Thomas) are fantastic players, proven winners, and their locals are tough as well.' Looks like the Singapore Slingers will be up to the challenge when they do battle against Hi-Tech Bangkok City this Sunday. 'We're looking forward to a great series. Hopefully people from Singapore turn out in big numbers,' said Johnson.
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