Muhd Zainul Ashyraf
Hj Hussin (R)
shoots the ball
during last night's
training session as
Ching Wei Ming
looks on. Zainul
has taken over
captaincy of the
national team as
Ben Sim sits out
the 15th Borneo
with a shoulder
BT/Yee Chun Leong
Plenty will be on the shoulders of Muhd Zainul Ashyraf Hj Hussin when the 15th Borneo City Men's Basketball Invitational Tournament 2013 tips off this weekend in Miri.
With Ben Sim out with a shoulder injury, Zainul will take over captaincy as he heads a team of Under-21 players to the annual tournament.
He will be joined by Soon Kian Leong as the only other player over 21 years of age on the Bruneian side at the July 26-28 competition
Ching Wei Ming, Muhd Masduqi Hj Hussin, Samuel Jong, Leong Ming Seng, Yee Xiao Hao, Liew Chee Jean, Han Yei Siew, Mak Chia Wee, Darren Yap and Gideon Fong complete the lineup.
Zainul is putting his teammates before himself and hopes that they gather what is needed from the three-day competition.
"For me personally, I want them to play more," said Zainul in an interview with The Brunei Times last night.
"We have a young team and a lot of them are inexperienced.
"The intent is to give them the needed experience and exposure But there is also the intent to win as many games as possible.
"Most important is that they are young and we want to instil good habits before they go on to play at a high level," continued the 25-year-old during the training session at the Multipurpose Hall of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Sports Complex in Berakas.
National basketball coach Kevin Reece had previously said that the seniors will be an extension of himself on the bench, on and off the court.
Zainul knows exactly what his coach is talking about.
"Our job as seniors is to mentor and make them (juniors) feel that it is alright for them to fail," said Zainul.
"We want to be an inspiration and motivate them as they have a long road ahead of them," added the national centre.
They are also looking at the bigger picture as the tournament will be a benchmark for the upcoming Borneo Games in September, an Under-21 tournament.
"We are testing the waters to see what works. Coach (Reece) has always emphasised on defense and that will be our weapon of choice," said Zainul.
"We want to use this tournament as a benchmark and then we will move forward to see how we can develop further," he concluded.
Joining them as team manager is Wira Pori. Brunei is also set to compete in the women's and veterans' categories as well.