| James Kon |
BRUNEI national coach Nomar’s strategy of utilising speed and stamina to counter the taller opponents seemed to work out perfectly yesterday after Brunei Darussalam’s men basketball team kick started its campaign to lift the Borneo City Cup with a 83-78 win over the Miri team at the Batu Bersurat basketball court.
Brunei’s Darren Chai and Lim Liang Wei have a game high with 21 points and 17 points respectively while on the other side, Kam Chung How hit a high of 20 points for his team.
Playing with all their hearts out, the Brunei cagers were actually leading by double digit of 39-25 at one stage thanks to a high tempo game that surprised the Miri team.
However in the final two minutes of the fourth quarter, Miri rallied back strongly and closed the gap within six points.
Luckily Brunei managed to hold on for the crucial win Nomar in an interview said: “After we were leading with a big game, I told my players that they have to maintain their focus but in the fourth quarter, we nearly let our win slip away.”
On the next match, he said: “We will take each game at a time. The next game we will face Labuan and we hope that we can emulate our win today after a successful first game.”
“Today’s win also gave the players a boost in confidence especially playing in front of the home crowd and for the country,” Nomar added.
Meanwhile, the Miri coach cum player, Idham Khalid bin Abd Sallam said: “I am surprised that Brunei did well in the first game. It’s the first time that I see Brunei really play their hearts out. The defeat is a blow to our title hope.”
Idham also said that his team is a new team that was just formed hours before coming to Brunei Darussalam and this is their first real game together.
The reason behind the last minute team call is that currently most of the senior players are competing in a competition in Miri. Although suffering the defeat, Idham expressed: “I am proud of my guys.
They really work hard until the end of the match. I am confident that we will improve with each match.”
Meanwhile in other matches, Brunei’s women team suffered a thumping 64-32 defeat to Kota Kinabalu while the Brunei veteran team lost to Miri 76-72 in a hard-fought match.
In other results, Miri beat Labuan 121-7 in the women’s event while KK defeated Labuan 79-66 in the veteran match-up.
The Kota Kinabalu men team showed that they are the favourite in the tournament with an impressive 94-46 win over Labuan.
Today, the Brunei women team will take on Labuan at 10am while Brunei men team will tip off against Labuan at 3pm.
The Brunei veteran team is looking for its first win of the tournament when they face Labuan at 4.30pm.