Race to the Playoff intensifies with Zamboanga, Slingers wins

The 2023 ABL Invitational race intensifies as Zamboanga Valientes and Singapore Slingers
secure crucial wins in day 4 of the competition.

The Slingers took over in the second half against the Macau Black Bears to run away with the
lead and the win, 89-82, in a game that has a bearing to the Playoff race.

Jackson Mah continued to have a spectacular campaign for the Slingers as a rookie. The
youngster scored 12 of his 14 points in the second half and 7 in the fourth quarter alone to
ignite the spark for his squad. Additionally, he totaled for 3 of the 4 three-pointers made in this
game by the Slingers.



The Singaporean club also dominated the boards against the Black Bears, with 54 carroms
compared to 33 from their opponents. The bulk of those rebounds were collected by CJ Gettys
(25 points, 16 rebounds, 5 assists) and Kentrell Barkley (23 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists).
The Macau Black Bears were led in scoring once again by Isaiah Wade who had 24 points on 9-
13 shooting to go with 14 rebounds and 4 blocks. They even received good contribution from
players outside of their core four – 11 points from Lao Chon Pong and 7 from Loeng Kei Long.
However, it’s tough to get a win with Jenning Leung struggling to find his touch, going 1-9 from
three-point land to end up with 9 points in 40 minutes played.

The win keeps the Slingers up ahead in the race to be in the top 4 spots of the standings with a
6-4 record. It also pushes the Black Bears down to 4-6, where they now find themselves nipping
at the heels of the team above them.

That team is Zamboanga Valientes, who escaped a late run by the feisty Bangkok Tigers to win,

Zamboanga led the entire game and even built up a lead of as much as 16 points, but the Tigers
were determined to chip away until the final buzzer.

The Filipino club got a monstrous performance from the reliable Antonio Hester, who
relentlessly attacked the Tigers’ defense for a total of 36 points on 16-25 shooting to go with 13
rebounds. Fellow big man Kemark Carino also chipped in 7 points and 8 boards for the
Valientes. Mario Chalmers had a relatively quiet game with 11 points and 4 assists but made
one of the more clutch baskets down the stretch as the Tigers closed in.

Augustus Stone cooled down a bit after his 30-point game just 24 hours ago to end up with 22
in this contest. There was some room left to shine on the Tigers’ stage, which William Freeman
gladly obliged to the tune of 23 points and 18 rebounds on 11-20 shooting from the field. Local
talent Natthaphat Biasumrit also had a great performance for the Thailand side with 18 points
on 8 attempts with only one miss in 18 minutes of action.



Zamboanga Valientes now improve to 5-5 at 5 th place in the standings, only one spot behind the
Slingers for the Playoff spot. The Bangkok Tigers drop to 1-10 and are out of the Playoff race.


Both the Black Bears and Valientes shall play their third game in four days on Tuesday February
7, facing Louvre Surabaya and Hong Kong Eastern, respectively. These shall be both of the
teams’ last games in Kuala Lumpur.

The Slingers shall play one more final game in KL against Louvre on Wednesday, February 8.
The Bangkok Tigers, however, can already look ahead to the next circuit in Vietnam where they
will play against the Singapore Slingers in the opening game on Sunday, February 12.