ABL Finals: Vanguardia, Malaysia expect comeback from Singapore
SINGAPORE — Malaysia head coach Ariel Vanguardia is anticipating better performances from Singapore, especially its imports, in the penultimate game of the ASEAN Basketball League finals Sunday.
In game 3, both Justin Howard and Xavier Alexander hardly made impact for the Slingers, combining for just 18 measly points—even one less than local Wu Qingde’s output for the game.
But the Filipino coach knows the Slingers won’t go down without a fight, especially in front of their Singapore fans.
“I expect both Howard and Alexander to bounce back,” Vanguardia told reporters after the Dragons’ 90-72 win Friday that put them in a prime position to claim the championship in Game 4.
“That team got hurt today and they’re going to come back. Just like in MABA [in Kuala Lumpur] when we got hurt. We expect them to be at their best, hopefully we play our best too.”
Reggie Johnson, whose monster performance of 34 points on 13-for-18 shooting carried the Dragons, is also expecting a dogfight against Singapore.
“We can’t be satisfied. I’m pretty sure Sunday’s gonna be like this. Hopefully we can [finish this], but this team has no quit. They have a great team and pretty sure they’re going to be their best on Sunday,” the best World import said.
Singapore opened the series with a game 1 stunner in Malaysia, but failed to protect its home court here. Now, the Slingers are looking to foil any celebrations at the OCBC Arena today at 4 p.m.
“Our backs are against the wall. On Sunday we have to give it everything we have or its over. There’s a little pressure on us but we have nothing to do but win,” Singapore’s Fil-American guard Kris Rosales said.
Eyes will be on Rosales after he tried to spark a comeback, which could have altered the complexion of the game in the second half if not for the fouling out of Alexander with six minutes to play.
“[We have to work on] our defense, because Rosales got going there. We need our defense set.”