Mak Chia Wee going
for a lay-up during
a training session
at Multipurpose Hall
of the Hassanal
Picture: BT/Yee Chun
National basketball coach Kevin Reece felt that the 5th Borneo Games last week was an eye-opener for his under-21 side.
Reece was proud of his boys despite finishing winless in the four-team competition in Labuan.
They had started out their campaign with a 75-59 loss to the hosts in the opener before falling 83-52 to Sabah in the second match.
They were defeated 71-55 by East Kalimantan in their final game.
"The team never gave up and fought till the end," said Reece in an interview with The Brunei Times when met yesterday.
"Overall I'm proud of them and it will be an everlasting imprint in their basketball career," he added.
"They now know that there are many other stronger teams out there and that we will have to work extra hard," continued the American.
Brunei suffered from slow starts in all three matches and were left playing on the backfoot.
The national coach felt that they failed to execute despite preparing for what was expected on the court.
"We could always get to within striking distance then lose it. Maybe it is the nerves or the lack of belief when going up against quality opponents," said Reece.
"The first quarter of every match has been a killer as we would fall behind quickly. The rest of the match we played even mostly.
"As much as we have prepared for the press break, we couldn't sustain it. We just failed to execute," he added.
"It was down to the physicality and experience. We were outmanned and outmuscled.
"We had our chances but in this case it was so close yet so far. The players didn't show enough heart, will and desire but some did manage to step up but could only do it in spurts," continued the Los Angeles native.
Han Yei Siew, Liew Chee Jean and Mak Chia Wee were the trio that Reece said stood out of the crowd.
Nonetheless, the national coach is looking to keep the team together and continue to work on getting better for the future of the sport.
"We will continue to work hard and have our trainings three times a week. We are also looking to have some sparring games against stronger opponents locally or even in the neighbouring countries," said Reece.
"They have learned and understood that they are required to hit the weight rooms more too.
"We are looking to work with the sports psychiatrist on a new programme that will help in improving our fitness and physicality," he added.
"The players are required to have the right nutrition and diet to go with their training.
They may also be required to make some sacrifices to become better health wise. I'm challenging them to try and get to their peak conditions," concluded Reece.