ABL: Valientes close out Singapore circuit with big win over Slingers

The Zamboanga Valientes pulled away in the second half and hacked out an 87-79 win over hometown bets Singapore Slingers to cap the Singapore Circuit of the ABL Invitational 2023 on a winning note on Sunday, Jan. 8 at the OCBC Arena.

Jeremy Arthur goes for a layup for Zamboanga. (ABL Photo)

Antonio Hester and Rudy Lingganay took turns in the huge second half for the Filipinos with the former dropping 10 of his 28 points in the third frame while the latter took full command of the final salvo that put on the finishing touches to the victory and set the Valientes’ campaign back on the winning track.

Hester added 10 rebounds, five assists and four steals while Lingganay, who spearheaded a 13-3 blast that gave Zamboanga a comfortable 87-72 cushion with a little over a minute left, finished with 14 points, three rebounds and two assists.

Zamboanga closed out the opening circuit of the tournament with a 2-2 record and the win serves as a fitting momentum builder when it returns to action in the Batam Circuit in Indonesia set to fire off on Jan. 12 to 18.

American import Ryan Smith also had his fair share of the spotlight with a double-double of 15 points and 13 rebounds as the Valientes made up for the tough losses it endured at the hands of NS Matrix Malaysia and Saigon Heat over the weekend.

Zamboanga saw its comeback bid against Saigon go down the drain as the Heat escaped with a 75-71 win on Friday, Jan. 6. The Valientes then looked poised for a huge bounce back win a day after but couldn’t hold on to a 16-point lead it established, collapsing and succumbing to NS Matrix, 86-82.