SINGAPORE – The Westports Malaysia Dragons were no pushover in the final leg of the Straits Cup, but Singapore Slingers manage to win by a single point over them at 78-77 with a second overtime.

With these two wins, home and away, the Singaporeans have secured their bragging rights for winning the cup.

Having lost their first home game to the Slingers by 5 points just two days ago, the Malaysian Dragons had to play harder to win the game with at least a 6 point lead to win the cup by point difference.

Dragons are now at 1 wins and 3 loss of the Asean Basketball League (2016-2017) Season.

Both teams were on high defense alert during the first quarter, which was then switched up at the start of the second quarter.

At 19-22 during the second quarter, Dragons were leading by 3 points and had loads more offensive opportunities then but missed five 3-pointers in a row, allowing Slingers to regain balance of their game.

In the 3rd quarter, Dragons had a good 9 point lead but lost their composure in the last few minutes, losing their footing and the lead, allowing Slingers to close the gap to 2 points by the buzzer. (40-42)

Marcus Melvin was on fire during the second half of the game, playing even harder during the overtimes, scoring massive 3s from long range, well away from the 3-point line.

By the 8th minute of the 4th quarter, Westports Malaysia Dragons were leading by 5, only to lose their lead by a 3-point shot by Wong Wei Long of Slingers, followed by another 2 point from the paint, tying the match at 59-59, pushing the game into its first overtime.

Things were looking up for the Slingers during the first overtime, raking up points from the paint up until the last second when Ma Chee Kheun shot a last second 3-pointer to equalize, pushing the game to a second overtime, 68-68.

Despite being worn out, both teams were still on top of their game in the second overtime, keeping the fans on their toes as neither team would let out, keeping the gap to a minimum.

Coach Thomas called out a smart time-out when the clock was down to the last 30 seconds to gain court advantage when the score was at 76-77, with Dragons leading by 1.

With his team running down the clock, Spencer positioned himself well under the basket, however was faced with a triple team by Slingers. With this pressure, Kwek from Slingers managed to steal the ball and make a quick pass to Xavier Alexander for a crucial lay, winning the game by 1 point over Dragons.

“Basketball is a real simple game, and anyone that tells you otherwise is lying. You take what the defense gives you offensively, and defensively you take away what a team does best,” said Coach Thomas when asked about his team hesitant plays on court.

He said it wasn’t the hesitation that bothered him, but the fact that it made the game harder for themselves. “We’ve got to flow into our offense, we’ve got to play with pace and a sense of urgency.”

Freddie Goldstein said, “Coach’s techniques are very smart, he knows the right people to put in, he holds everybody accountable for their actions, from local to import. Everybody gets the same treatment,” when faced with the question about the lack of local plays.

Game 5 of the Dragons will be against Hong Kong Eastern Long Lions @ Southorn Stadium, Hong Kong.

The Hong Kong basketball team is currently second on the leaderboard with 4 wins in 5 games. They only loss was to Singapore Slingers in 22nd December.

Written By : Benjamin Lim