Brunei's takraw team (white) in action during their semi-final match of the International Sepak Takraw Federation (ISTAF) Super Series 2013/2014 Finals against Malaysia yesterday. Brunei lost 4-0. Picture: Bernama
Brunei fell to a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Malaysia in the semi-finals of the International Sepak Takraw Federation (ISTAF) Super Series 2013/2014 Finals yesterday.
The second best ranked team in the world proved to be too much for Brunei, winning all the three sets with 15-8 scorelines at the Titiwangsa Indoor Stadium in Kuala Lumpur.
Brunei will face Korea - who lost 3-1 (15-8, 15-17, 15-10, 15-9) to Thailand in the other semi-final - today in the battle for third.
Regardless of the results, the team of Ismail Ang, Mohd Hafizuddin Jamaluddin, Nur Alimin Sunggoh, Shukri Jaineh and Mohd Alifuddin Jamaluddin have already done the country proud by reaching the semi-final of the tournament for the first time.
Yesterday's game began with a moment of silence and prayers for the safety of those aboard Malaysia Airlines flight MH370 that went missing on their flight from Kuala Lumpur to Beijing.
The national team made a change to their starting lineup, leaving out (killer) Ismail Ang and replacing him with Mohd Shukri Jaineh.
Mohd Hafizuddin (feeder) and Nur Alimin (tekong) were the other starters in the game against Malaysia's Muqlis Borhan (feeder), Hanafiah Dolah (killer) and Syahir Rosdi (tekong).
Hanafiah quickly got the Malaysians in front with a beautiful spike following a weak service from Nor Alim.
Shukri would put Brunei level with a lovely drop spike and Nur Alimin's windmill serves put Brunei ahead.
Malaysia fell behind as a battle between the two tekongs heated up with Syahir and Nur Alimin putting on a variety of serving techniques.
Standing at 195cm Syahir was utilising his height against the Bruneians.
Nur Alimin, on the other hand, made a number of uncharacteristic service errors as the Malaysians ended the first-set 15-8
Shukri had his spike blocked by Malaysia's Hanafiah as the home side opened up a 4-0 minutes into the second-set.
Nur Alimin replied with his accurate strong serves to pull two points back but the duo of Hanafiah and Syahir would power Malaysia to finish the second set with a similar 15-8 scoreline.
Ismail came on for Shukri and made some impact but Malaysia still got themselves 3-0 up in the first few minutes of the third set.
Ismail had a moment of brilliance late in the game, saving the opponent's serve and setting himself up for a beautiful spike, but it was not enough to deny the Malaysians of their final berth.
Brunei started their campaign with a 2-1 victory over Japan in Group D on Wednesday.
They were stunned 2-1 by China but finished top of the group after bouncing back with a 2-0 triumph over Iran on Thursday.
They took down Singapore 2-0 on Friday to book their semis date against Malaysia.
The country took part in all three ISTAF Super Series legs that were held last year.
They finished ninth during the first two legs in India and Thailand before placing sixth in Sabah.
The Sultanate managed to pick up two bronze medals from the hoop event and men's team double event during last December's Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in Myanmar.