| James Kon |
DESPITE staging a valiant comeback to bounce from a six-point deficit in the fourth quarter, Brunei Darussalam suffered a major setback in the Borneo City Cup after losing 69-58 to Labuan at the Batu Bersurat basketball court.
Trailing 48-54 after the end of the third quarter, Brunei managed to get back into the game, tying the score 56 a piece.
Speedy point guard Simon Chong was in the think of action as he rallied his troops to equalise.
In the remaining four minutes, Brunei’s offence fell flat and Labuan, with their towering players, managed to grab a number of decisive offensive rebounds to score and hold on for the crucial win.
Darren Chai and Lim Liang Wei, who played a massive part in the win against Miri on Friday, only managed to score a combined 15 points.
Darren only played major minutes in the match after he suffered stiffness in his muscle leg.
Measuring around six-foot in height and cleaning up the rebounding board, Labuan’s Lee Kon Fet and Tan Wu Chey raked in 15 points and 14 points respectively.
Brunei coach Nomar said, “We were outclassed on the rebounds … that was the area where we really struggled.
“I have been telling the team that the win over Miri was just one game and that we needed to move forward. This game was crucial but we lost.
“But we can learn and improve. There is still hope if we beat Kota Kinabalu in the final game of the tournament tomorrow.”
Meanwhile, Labuan’s coach/player Ong Kng Boon heaped praise on his team for a solid performance.
“Today our players did a good job and played out an aggressive game from the beginning.
“Kon Fet and Wu Chey had an impressive game especially in the defensive and offensive rebounds,” he said, adding “most of our players are overseas’ students who were asked to return to Labuan to compete in the championship”.
Kng Boon said he hoped to beat Miri today for second place.
“Our team chemistry has improved … we must use this to our advantage and get the better of Miri.”
Meanwhile, the women’s and veteran teams registered impressive victories over Labuan.
The women won 107-19 while the veterans recorded a 63-44 win.
Today will see the women’s team take on Miri at 1pm while the veteran team face Kota Kinabalu at 2.30pm.
The men’s team play Kota Kinabalu team at 4pm.