National basketball coach Kevin Reece is excited about the future of the sport in Brunei.
He watched his charges claim bronze at the recently concluded 15th Borneo City Men's Basketball Invitational Tournament 2013 over the weekend.
They fell to a 103-52 thrashing at the hands of eventual champions Miri in the opener on Friday.
It was a better showing in their second game where they lost 68-56 against Kota Kinabalu at the Miri Basketball Association court.
They bounced back and defeated Labuan 61-54 in their final game to ensure they finish on the podium of the four-team competition.
Reece had selected an under-21 squad accompanied by two seniors Muhd Zainul Ashyraf Hj Hussin and Soon Kian Leong to represent the Sultanate at the annual competition.
It was also used as a benchmark for the upcoming Borneo Games an U-21 tournament in Labuan next month.
"We are looking at the development of basketball and the rebuilding process is progressing well. I thought that we did well at the competition," said Reece in an interview with The Brunei Times yesterday.
"Every game was a learning experience, from losing the first two and winning the last. We could have even won the game against KK had we not committed 35 turnovers," he said.
"We have improved in terms of youth and athleticism. The players are able to get to spots they want quickly and the defence is more lively now. We are headed in the right direction and I'm excited about the future," continued the American.
He also highlighted one problem with his young roster but is looking forward to further progress.
"The only problem is height but the players want to try out a nutritional diet for next year. They have plans to stay on weights and conditioning," said Reece.
"A majority of the players are under my tutelage from the start and they know the system. They will only get better," he added.
"We are looking forward to next year. We want to try and see where we stand in local tournaments such as the Sultan Cup," concluded the Los Angeles native.
Reece, who turned 53 last Saturday, had plenty of backup and credited his manager, Wira Pori, and players Ben Sim and Muhd Zainul Ashyraf Hj Hussin with assisting him on the development of basketball in the Sultanate.
Brunei also finished the competition 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 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.
The Sultanate will host the 16th edition of the competition next year.