The national basketball team
posing for a photo after
finishing third at the 15th
Borneo City Men's Basketball
Invitational Tournament 2013
in Miri yesterday. The team
only won one game, a 61-54
result over Labuan. The
veteran team also finish
third while the women lost
all their games in the
three-team table. Picture:
Courtesy of Wira Pori
The national basketball team finished with the bronze medal in the 15th Borneo City Men's Basketball Invitational Tournament 2013 yesterday after they defeated Labuan 61-54 in their only win of the the four-team tournament.
Captain Muhd Zainul Ashyraf Hj Hussin led the way with a double-double for 19 points and 14 rebounds at the Miri Basketball Association court.
The Sultanate started off their campaign with a 103-52 thrashing at the hands of eventual champions Miri on Friday.
They failed to provide Reece, who turned 53 on Saturday, a birthday present after losing 68-56 against Kota Kinabalu.
The national team finished second during last year's tournament in Labuan after winning the competition for the first time in the 2011 edition in Kota Kinabalu.
According to team manager Wira Pori, the Sultanate did better than the last two matches as both teams were evenly matched and fielded Under-21 rosters in preparation for the Borneo Games in September.
"We had a slow start but our defense limited their offence and our big men (Zainul and Soon Kian Leong) were wreaking havoc on their frontline, fouling out their two centres," said Wira in an interview with The Brunei Times yesterday.
"Daniel Foo, is a Canadian high school player, kept Labuan in the game.
"We controlled the boards but again our turnovers gave them a chance.
"The tournament showed the kids that there is far better competition outside their usual youth tournaments.
"Such exposure is valuable for their long-term development and better good of Brunei basketball," continued Wira.
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.
The three-day event is used as a benchmark for the upcoming Borneo Games in Labuan and the team manager also warned that they will have to continue working hard and not lose focus.
"The U21s who got selected, though they brought home the hardware, can't slack off as nothing is guaranteed under the coach's (Kevin Reece) programme," said Wira.
"Consistency, discipline, hard work and nutrition are key values in order to thrive in his system and to be on his radar for the final selection," he added.
Brunei also finished with bronze in the veteran's category, .
They fell to an 84-57 loss against KK in their opener before bouncing back with a 68-58 victory over Labuan.
They were then defeated 74-41 by the hosts Miri yesterday, which put them in third.
The women finished at the bottom of the three-team pile after losing both their games.
They fell to a 68-52 loss against Miri in the opener on Friday before losing 82-60 against KK on Saturday.
Brunei will host the next edition of the competition next year.
The national team took home the trophy for the maiden time in 2011 when they won all of their games in Kota Kinabalu, Sabah.
They shocked 10-time champions Miri 69-54 in their first game before beating Labuan 76-47, sealing the trophy with a 61-41 win over hosts Kota Kinabalu.
Prior to leaving for Miri, Reece said he is looking at the big picture and felt that now is the right time to test his new batch of players at the annual tournament.
Reece had previously said that they are not looking at preparing a team that can just compete at the Southeast Asian Games to be hosted by the Sultanate in 2019, but to finish midtable.