Brunei's Leong Ming
Seng in action
during an earlier
scored 18 points in
68-54 loss to Kota
Picture: BT file
It was not the birthday present national basketball coach Kevin Reece had in mind.
Brunei succumbed to their second defeat in as many days after losing 68-54 to defending champions Kota Kinabalu in the 15th Borneo City Men's Basketball Invitational Tournament 2013 yesterday.
The result was a huge improvement after they lost 103-54 against hosts Miri in their opener on Friday at the Miri Basketball Association (MBA) court in Miri.
Leong Ming Seng topscored for the Sultanate with 18 points while captain Muhd Zainul Ashyraf Hj Hussin provided a double-double with 17 points and 10 boards.
The biggest problem for Brunei in the matchup was that they had 30 turnovers.
The Sultanate sent an Under-21 squad accompanied by seniors Zainul and Soon Kian Leong to the July 26-28 tournament.
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 line-up.
Team manager, Wira Pori, is positive and feels that the future is looking bright.
"It's a good exposure for the kids. Otherwise when will they have a taste of real basketball? It's about time they step out of the local age-limit tournaments and play with the 'big dogs' especially ones like the Miri Firehorse," said Wira in an interview with The Brunei Times yesterday.
"They will get thrashed but that is due to the disparity level and experience. Every small beginning starts with a single step, even a tumble. What matters is how you pick yourself up and grow over time," he said.
"Our current, former and even veteran national players also went through such phrases when they were younger. There has to be strong faith in the development of youth and it will be rewarded over time," continued Wira.
Team captain, Zainul, agrees with his manager about the new generation of players.
"I'm proud of the young players. Despite bring inexperienced, we played through with intensity and determination till the final minute," said Zainul.
"It's a gelling process for us and it's looking promising, with the way we played. We are tweaking our strategies in order to have a fighting chance to finish with a good result," he said.
Brunei will take on Labuan in their final match today.
Over in the women's category, Brunei fell to an 82-60 loss to KK.
Lin Siau Mei topscored for the team with 12 points and Yvonne Ha also got into double figures with 10 points.
They finish at the bottom of the three-team competition, also losing 68-52 to Miri on Friday.