Nur Afiqah Samat blocks a shot
from a Japanese rival. Picture:
Brunei Under-21 captain Dk Nur Hafizah Amirah Pg Md Jali led her team to beat Japan 48-26 in the 8th Asian Youth Netball Championship yesterday.
Japan looked as if they were going to be a real challenge when they sank the initial point in the first 10 seconds.
However, Brunei's offence quickly replied scoring two points within the first minute.
As they progressed, it was clear that the training they had put themselves through for the last six months had paid off.
They were quick to the ball and scored a few interceptions at the Indoor Stadium of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas.
The Under-21 shooters were still missing a few shots but with the constant feeding of the ball helped them gain more points.
Brunei showed their full form when they managed to sink nine points over Japan's defence in the last six minutes of the opening stanza, ending the first quarter at 17-6.
Japan showed a strong start by holding back Brunei in the first few minutes of the second quarter.
Eventually, Brunei regained their pace and took back the control of the game.
The duo of Dk Nur Hafizah and Nur Afiqah Samat in the goalkeeper and goal defence made it hard for Japan to receive the ball as they kept the constant pressure on them.
Down at the offensive side, Nur Atiqah Abd Jalil and Nur Syuhaidah Fahiryana Hj Sukri kept on piling up their score. Brunei's dominance at both ends finished the second quarter at 28-13.
Both of the teams pace began to slow down in the third quarter, but Brunei on the other saw a quick three points in a passage of play to boost their lead to 36-18. Goal defence Nur Afiqah stepped up and applied pressure to keep the Japanese team out of their zone, though they still managed to add four points to the board ending the third quarter at 38-20.
Japan carried on trying to fight for their points but unfortunately they couldn't secure as many chances as they would have liked.
The Bruneian defensive duo kept Japan at a low six points to end the final quarter at 48-26.
Dk Nur Hafizah knew that they would win and hopes to finish top two in their group.
"We feel great, and we're grateful that we won the game as it reached our coach Thilaka Jinadasa's expectations," said Dk Nur Hafizah.
"The win proved that we could do it.
"The Japanese team was fast like the Singapore Under-21 team but Singapore plays the same style as us.
"It was a good experience for us our fitness levels helped us to overcome Japan's speed.
"Hopefully we can make it to the top two in the group but we still have three more games to go, so we will have to see how it goes.
"We watched the Hong Kong game today and from the looks of it, their play looks similar to ours.
"Hong Kong play with a system and almost all of them are tall but we will do our best against them," added Dk Nur Hafizah.
The Malaysian champions will start off against India today at 11am.
Brunei are lined up to play the second match of the day against Hong Kong today at 2.30pm. The following matches see Sri Lanka taking on Thailand at 4.30pm and Singapore facing Nepal at 7.30pm in the later match.