A MEAC (L) player takes on a rival from Easy Way during their Mum Bakery Cup match in this file photo taken June 16, 2013 at the Brunei Basketball Association court in Batu Bersurat. Picture: BT File
Defending Champions Mochi-Each A Cup (MEAC) are expecting fierce competition in the Mum Bakery Cup this year.
The annual tournament, organised in conjunction with His Majesty's 68th Birthday celebrations, will tip off today at the Brunei Basketball Association (BBA) court in Batu Bersurat. MEAC won the tournament last year after dethroning Easyway 70-63 in the final. The rules are different this year as teams are allowed to recruit two imports in their roster.
MEAC captain Benjamin Lim expects that his charges are required to put in the extra work for the tournament this time around. "This year it is obviously harder to compete as most of the teams have imports," said Lim in an interview with The Brunei Times yesterday. "But as a team we are looking forward to this as want to test ourselves. We want to see how we match up against the imports," he added.
"I expect us to work even harder and smarter to win games. "From a spectator perspective, even a $2 entrance fee is going to be worth it. The standard is so much higher," continued Lim. MEAC will welcome back Miri-based player Voon Yiew Ting, who put up an MVP performance in the final with 25 points.
However, they will be missing the services of Esmond Tan but attained the duo of Lim Liang Wei and Kel Hung in the roster. "Unfortunately Esmond's working schedule conflicts with the tournament's schedule so he won't be able to play," explained Lim. MEAC are drawn in Group A with Le Doux Patisserie, Flex Link, Kim Engineering and Morley Movers.
They will open their campaign against Kim Engineering after the opening ceremony at 8.30pm today. Group B are made up of D'Sunlit, Syarikat Bukit Ladang, JK & P, Mobile One and Young Bloods. Group C comprise of KYG, Build Con, MBA and Rovina Jaya.
Runners-up Easyway are placed in Group D with Titans, Ferlan and Hankook Tyre. Easyway manager Wira Pori expects a tough outing in their difficult group. "We are the underdogs in the so-called 'Group of Death'. The competition to make it past the first round will be stiff and every match will be a do-or-die situation," said Wira.
"We haven't been playing together for the past year and other teams have gotten imports to beef up their roster," he added. "But as always, there are two sides of a coin and may the best team advance," continued Wira. Easyway will be banking on the trio of Ben Sim, Muhd Zainul Ashyraf Hj Hussin and Choo Yung Jian.
They are backed up by Yap Chun Ping, Soon Kian Leong, Hj Md Rahmat Hj Suhaili, Jamri Ramlee, Ahamd Termizi Nordeen, and Cavan Kong. The team are also expecting two imports, yet to be revealed, to be inserted into the lineup.
A matchup between Syarikat Bukit Ladang and Mobile One in Group B will tip off the competition at 5pm. The second match will see KYG go head-to-head against Build Con in Group C at 6.30pm before the opening ceremony at 8pm.