I went to my first Singapore Slingers game this evening. Singapore's only major league basketball team played against the Wollongong Hawks at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. Though I am no avid basketball spectator, I thought that the game was played in a scrappy manner and the players on both sides weren't up to standard. But there were some good moments, which showed overall promise for Singapore's basketball dreams.
Firstly, I should add that I was there only because Daphne scored a free ticket for me. And it turns out that bloggers get media-like privileges. I guess we're obligated to blog about the game, so as to increase the Slingers' share of voice in the blogosphere. Though we didn't get to sit in the box seats as we were supposed to (because AIA had booked them for its family day), we still got free entry and free drinks. And we could apparently go down to the court-side to take pictures!
Ok ok, enough gushing about the privileges. Back to the game. As had been pointed out to me at the start of the game, there are only three Singaporeans on the team. The others are foreigners. During the game, only one Singaporean got to play for the last few seconds of the second quarter. I'm not sure of the rational for such player selection, but it did seem like we were rooting for a foreign team.
I thought that, with these foreigners, the Slingers couldn't be that bad, right? Well, how about dribbling across the court, only to let the ball slip from your fingers -- and there's no opponent around you! Or missing (relatively) easy shots. On the other hand, the Slingers seemed to defend well, forcing the Hawks to shoot from outside the three-point line several times.
The only Slinger whom I remember was No. 7, McDonald, who played pretty well during the third quarter. He stole the ball a few times and sunk it twice. The crowd went wild when he scored. Then again, the Slingers had its best show in the third quarter, when things were just whizzing all around the court and the points were racking up.
But if the Slingers played badly, then the Hawks was the punching bag. Even those whom I talked with agreed that it was a lousy team overall. Lost possessions, multiple fouls, and - most importantly - failing to score, even for the free throws! Sure, it had a few bright moments, but as mentioned before, the Slingers' defence pretty much shut it down for most of the game.
Another consolation for the spectators: the cheerleaders. No one can fault a contingent of pretty ladies wearing short shorts that show off their legs. Daphne mentioned that they were probably professional dancers hired to be cheerleaders. Whoever they were, they made for a good break from the game.
In the end, the Slingers won, as it deserved to. It led most of the time, usually trailing by a few points. I think it has two strengths: good defence with tight marking, and a few stand-out individuals. Looking at the scoreboard, I couldn't help but notice that there were only two or three players who were scoring. But then, wasn't it the same with Michael Jordan and the Chicago Bulls?
By the way, the organisers need a better announcer/host. The only thing I remember him saying was "Everyone, big D!" (as in "defence").
Incidentally, this was also my first time to the Indoor Stadium. I'm so suah-ku!