Hoop Magic

DELVIN GOH IS ARGUABLY ONE of Singapore’s most prominent up-and-coming basketball players but he also keeps his eye on fellow rising stars in the region. In the upcoming 2019-2020 ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) season, Delvin, 24, will face off with one of them: Lin Zhi Jie, a player from Taiwan side Fubon Braves. “I’ve been watching on YouTube and he’s really good,” he shares. But that doesn’t mean he’s nervous — instead, Delvin is looking forward to the challenge and as he puts it, the “opportunity to play with someone that good”.

Delvin’s team, the Singapore Slingers’ first home match of the 10th ABL will be on 22 December 2019, against Chinese side Wolf Warriors. That match will be first of 13 ABL matches they play on home ground at Singapore Sports Hub’s OCBC Arena — an experience that Delvin and his teammates look forward to. There’s a special feeling when we play on home court, he tells Here to Play. “You have the crowd behind you, cheering for you… it just gives you the extra push you need when you’re tired,” he explains.

This support will come in handy for Delvin and his teammates, who are in for a gruelling few months. Together, they will play 26 games during this competition, some within 24 hours of each other: on 4 January, they play the Fubon Braves at 5pm before taking on the Formosa Dreamers at 3pm the next day.

The tournament also comes on the heels of the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in early December. This means that some Slingers players are off training with the national team, and not with the league team. But Delvin is optimistic about his team’s chances at the ABL. “We still make good use of the time we have as a team to throw in everything we need to know, offensive and defensive plays,” he says. When asked about the chances of the Slingers lifting the trophy, he doesn’t miss a beat. “100 per cent every single year. That’s what our team feels every season.”


His can-do spirit is infectious and one that he picked up from his family. Family support has been important for Delvin, who was given the nickname ‘Wonderkid’ when he joined the Singapore Slingers in 2011 at the tender age of 16. He credits his early signing to his height and build — after all, at 1.94m, he practically towers over everybody else. “I’m still very grateful to the Slingers for letting me start young and allowing me to gain so much experience and exposure over the years,” he shares.

Playing professionally has helped Delvin forge new friendships from the world over and appreciate various cultures. But it has its drawbacks too. “The long travelling times and jet lag can be exhausting,” he says with a laugh.