They were not the most impressive individual performances on the court, but it seemed somehow like this game belonged to Freddie Goldstein and Tyler Lamb.
Final Score: Hitech Bangkok City 83 – Singapore Slingers 74
The story of who they are and how they came here have been told and retold a bit tediously over the past few months, but no one had actually seen them play in a real competitive game so this game had quite a few people anticipated (me included).
But then the moment came and they didn’t exactly explode on the scene. Goldstein struggled with the Singapore Slingers on-the-ball pressure. Tyler Lamb got his points early on, but Hitech were still struggling in the first quarter. The Hitech offense was looking rusty as they weren’t able to get the shots that they wanted. Their defense was even rustier and allowed some easy points for the Slingers to take.
But then the game progressed to the tail end of the second quarter and the two Thai Americans came to life.
Hitech Bangkok City Coach, Jhing Ruiz, had substituted veterans Kannawat Lertlaokul, Attaporn Lertmalaiporn, and Piyapong Piroon into the game for the Half-Thais (Dasom, Lamb, and Goldstein started the game) which gave the youngsters a chance to sit down and collect themselves.
Once they got back into the game:
It was a small gym, so you could still hear the collective gasps of excitement when Goldstein juked Desmond Oh with the crossover. For two guys that have had a load of pressure piled up on them to perform, it must have been satisfying to release that off their chests:
The Hitech Bangkok City lead would balloon from that point on until it peaked at 18 in the 3rd quarter. Most of their points contribution would be from their ridiculous offensive rebounding (40.5 ORB%) and finishing off of those chances (21 second chance points), thanks to the advantage they have of having Steve Thomas and Chris Charles who combined for 31 rebounds.
Of course, being the gritty Singapore Slingers and the only team to beat Hitech Bangkok City 3 times last year, everyone knew they had another run left in them.
And they did.
The Slingers put a Full Court Press on Hitech Bangkok City from the get go. Freddie Goldstein might be a skilled ball handler, but it’s hard to dribble yourself out of a Press. The turnovers piled up for Hitech and eventually, the Slingers cut the lead down to 4 points.
In the end, the run was too little too late. Despite Xavier Alexander’s monster game, the Slingers suffered some crucial turnovers themselves putting them in a deficit too large to overcome.
Hitech Bangkok City didn’t play an entirely good game. They had a couple of really good looking ball movement plays like this:
But they still had a lot of moments which they relied on individual talent. There’s nothing wrong with that, but the chemistry is still something they will have to work on.
It’s really hard to gauge the impression on the Slingers in this game because they were playing with Ng Han Bin and Wu Qing De (who are on the roster submission, but didn’t join the game). I really liked what we saw from Xavier Alexander. As a wing import, he has the advantage of being able to beat locals with his strength (like what he did to Dasom) and he can beat the other imports with his speed advantage. He got to the line for a total of 16 times (!) which was only 2 less than how many free throws the entire Hitech Bangkok City team took.
What I liked and didn’t like
- Wuttipong Dasom’s Unimpressive Debut
Unimpressive might be a really soft way to say it I guess. Dasom was one of the top locals last season and it was expected that he was going to take another step forward this year.
That didn’t really go out well.
Dasom had been assigned to the opposing wing scorers throughout the season, and he was matched with Alexander in this game. He was exposed to several backdoor cuts from committing too much to the first pass or either helping too hard on the ball.
Of course, it’s the first game of the season and you need to have scouting reports to anticipate this, but Dasom got beat for a couple of times too many. Let’s see if he can pick it up in the next games.
His offensive role was minimized as well, as the Slingers would force Hitech into a slow paced game, rendering Dasom’s greatest weapon, transition offense, useless.
A couple of badly missed shots and bad turnovers really sums up how much Dasom will have to pick up to still be recognized as one of the ABL’s top locals.
- Xavier Alexander vs. Tyler Lamb
The basketball match up was entertaining as these two traded barbs, but what was really fun was them jawing back and forth.
I personally asked Lamb after the game if something personal is going on, but he replied that it was all just friendly trashtalk. We’ll see in the next time these two play.
- New Jerseys!
Both teams sported new jerseys this year, even though they looked pretty much the old ones.
Hitech changed sponsors from the Bangkok Logo to 100 Plus. I liked how the Elephant logo looked in last year’s version, but the 100 Plus logo does give a bit more color to the team.
The Slingers didn’t change much except for the fact that they dropped the jobstreet.com from the team name on the jersey. I haven’t found any reports of them withdrawing sponsorship, but from a jersey design perspective, I think it looks really clean.
- The Commentating
Oh my god. The commentating was so bad.
There’s no way to work around this. The commentator on the left sounded so sleepy and it felt like he had no emotion involved with the game whatsoever. I can’t believe they let him commentate this game.
Jokes aside, that was in fact me as the commentator of this game (on the left). Yes, my name is Sajjatam Kulsomboon. My nickname is TK. I completely suck at commentating. At this moment.
I heard the feedback. I’ve read the comments. And I thank everyone for their advice. I’ll look forward to improving in those mentioned areas and promise it will be much easier on the ears for everyone if I get another chance the next time around.
I’d like to thank the Hitech Officials for giving me a chance to do this. Never in my life would I imagine that I would get a chance to talk about a basketball game for almost 2 hours with who knows how many live audiences and (as of this moment) 17,046 viewers on the Youtube replay. It’s a fun alternate way to watch a basketball game and if the chance arises again, I would not be hesitant to take it.
Even though I suck at it. For now.
- THE ABL IS BACK!!!
That’s basically all that matters about this game really.
Hitech Bangkok City will play their next game against crosstown rivals, Mono Vampires, on the 4th of November at Thungkru Stadium.
The Singapore Slingers will play their next game against Saigon Heat on the 31st of October at CIS Arena (the game should be over by the time this article is released).