Brunei's Md Shukri Jaineh (L) goes for the block against Indonesia in the semi-finals of men's team double event at the 27th Southeast Asian Games yesterday. BT/ Yee Chun Leong
National sepak takraw coach Ittiphol Chomchaissak (R) talking to his players during a time out in their semi-finals match of the men's team double event yesterday. BT/ Yee Chun Leong
The national sepak takraw team had to settle for joint-bronze after falling 2-0 to Indonesia in the semi-finals of the men's team double event at the 27th Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Naypyidaw yesterday.
Indonesia will face hosts Myanmar, who dispatched of Cambodia 2-0 in the other semi-final, for the gold medal today.
Md Shukri Jaineh and Mohd Hafizzuddin Jamaludin lost 2-0 (21-16, 23-21) to the pair of Yudi Purnomo and Nofrisal Nofrisal in the closely contested opener which didn't allow much room for error.
The Sultanate were playing well and gained momentum to open up a two-point lead at 16-14.
However, Indonesia turned things around and raked up seven consecutive points to close out the first set.
The two teams were equally matched in the second set with the Bruneians throwing their bodies around to ensure points. It went down to the wire after Md Shukri made a brilliant three-touch save to tie things up at 19-19.
The blemish for the Bruneian side in the second set was their poor service which gifted their opponents seven points, eventually proving to be the difference of the game.
In the second match, the pair of Ismail Ang and Abdul Hadi Ariffin Matazi lost 2-0 (21-16, 21-15) to Saiful Rijal and Samsul Hadi.
Indonesia jumped out to an early lead of five points in the first set but Brunei would work their way to square things up at 13-13.
The Indonesians would respond by going on a seven-point run before closing out the set.
Brunei failed to keep up with their opponents in the second set, the Indonesians quickly jumping out to an early six-point lead before cruising to victory.
National sepak takraw coach Ittiphol Chomchaissak, who is set to leave his position after the biennial Games, was pleased with his charges especially the duo from the opening match.
"Our players performed well in the first regu today (Thursday). The only problem was the service in the second set," said Ittiphol in an interview after the encounter.
"The team for the second regu is still about 70 per cent. We came into the game knowing that Indonesia are a strong team and they were better than us," he added.
"I'm still happy though because we finally managed to win a medal. It is a good achievement," continued Ittiphol.
Asked if the outcome would be different if the first and second regu were switched around, Ittiphol replied: "We probably would have lost the first and won the second.
"We haven't got a strong third regu (Marzuki Munap and Humaidi Brahim) compared to our opponents who are made up of all strong players. So we would still have lost in the end," added the Thai national.
The team is set to receive their bronze medal today after the final.
Brunei still have another chance to add to their tally as the trio of Ismail, Abdul Hadi and Md Shukri will compete in the men's double event.
They have been drawn in Group A with Indonesia, Vietnam and Laos, which is the same draw from two years ago in the previous edition in Palembang, Indonesia.
They will kick off their campaign against Indonesia this afternoon.
Ismail is hoping that they would be able to advance into the semi-finals for the competition this time round.
"Our target is to make it into the semi-finals if possible. This is the same group from the previous Games and we lost close games," said Ismail.
"Hopefully this time we will be able to deliver as the teams are quite equal," he concluded.
The Philippines, Myanmar, Cambodia and Singapore make up Group B.
The national sepak takraw team had already won a bronze medal earlier in the hoop event last Monday.