ABL Finals: Rosales delivers on defense, shuts down Wright
Kris Rosales had the unenviable task of stopping Westports Malaysia’s Matthew Wright, who, on most nights seems to be unguardable.
For a moment on Friday, the streaky Wright was in that particular mode, scoring 20 points in 18 minutes in the first half of Game 1 of the 2016 ASEAN Basketball League Finals.
But the second half was an entirely different story.
“Coach Neo told me to guard Wright,” said the Fil-American Singapore Slingers guard, referring to his head coach Neo Beng Siang. “Stay on him, deny him the ball and don’t let him get hot because he can get hot real quick so I tried my best to deny him and play good on-ball defense. Just be a pest and stick on him.”
“First half, he (Wright) got 20 points on us and in the second half we shut him down. That’s our game plan,” said Beng Siang after the visiting Slingers rallied to cool off the red-hot Dragons on their home floor. “He (Rosales) did a good job. He stuck with the plan and as an individual he did a good job on Wright.”
Wright went on to score only two points in the last two quarters while shooting just 1-of-5 from the field after going 6-of-9 in the first half.
Rosales also gave the Slingers a scoring lift with 13 points, including a jumper with under a minute left— and he did all that with an injured left hand.
“I’m proud of him. He’s recovering but he is just playing through pain. In the game, he just forgot about the pain and just played. He’s definitely not 100% yet but I think he’s really confident now,” said Beng Siang.
Rosales hurt his hand against defending champion Hi-Tech Bangkok in the semifinals and he didn’t see action in Game 2 because of it.
Rosales’ hand was heavily-taped during the game to prevent him from aggravating the injury but he wouldn’t want to miss any game in the finals.
“It’s my first trip to the finals and I don’t want to miss any of it.”