SURABAYA, INDONESIA – The Singapore Slingers team bus, with the players inside, was harassed by a group of more than 10 men on Wednesday (May 8) morning after a practice session.
A car had blocked the bus’ path as it was leaving the GOR CLS Kertajaya arena and the men – allegedly supporters of CLS Knights Indonesia, the Slingers’ opponents in Wednesday’s Game 3 of the Asean Basketball League (ABL) Finals – surrounded the bus, banged the windows and made threatening gestures.
The bus eventually departed but was followed by two cars to the hotel where the Slingers are staying. Upon arrival, security personnel held the stalkers at bay while the Singapore team entered the premises. No injuries were reported.
Slingers coach Neo Beng Siang told The Straits Times: “I have heard about such things during the Malaysia Cup days but this is the first time I have experienced such a thing myself.
“Safety is our top concern and we made sure the players are all okay. We told them to go out in a group if they have to, but urged them to focus on winning tonight’s game.”
Slingers general manager and assistant coach Michael Johnson added: “It is disappointing that someone would resort to such measures just to try and intimidate the team.
“We have now in conjunction with the league additional security measures to ensure the safety of our team and our fans throughout our stay.”
The best-of-five ABL Finals is tied at 1-1 after both teams split the first two games, which have been tense and heated, at the OCBC Arena in Singapore.
Videos of Knights coach Brian Rowsom encroaching the field of play in Game 2 and coming into contact with Slingers player Ng Han Bin had emerged and after investigating the incident, the ABL has fined Rowsom an undisclosed amount.
ABL chief executive Jericho Ilagan told ST more security personnel will be deployed to ensure order and safety at Games 3 and 4 (May 11).
He said: “The league is aware of the incident that happened outside GOR CLS Kertajaya earlier today and is working closely with the host team, BTN CLS Knights Indonesia, to ensure that the visiting team, the Singapore Slingers, are safe and secure at all times.
“The hosts have also taken further security and precautionary measures in addition to the standards in place.
“The league, together with all its member teams, condemn individuals and groups who will try to use the avenue of sport to spread hatred and bigotry.”
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