YAP Chun Ping and Po Yung Hui are confident that the national team's Vietnam Basketball Federation National Cup campaign could have gone a lot better if veterans Benjamin Sim and Benjamin Lim were involved.
The team returned from Vietnam yesterday with a 1-3 win loss record, though two of the losses came in overtime.
Sim the team's captain and Lim weren't able to follow the squad to the tournament at Bach Dang Square in Soc Trang City because of work commitments, and Chun Ping and Yung Hui feel that the team suffered from the lack of height that the absent duo could have provided.
"The average height of the players we were up against was six feet ... We lack that kind of height," explained Chun Ping after the team touched down at the Brunei International Airport in Berakas yesterday.
"We were missing our big guys (Sim and Lim) and getting out-rebounded. If we had those two guys it would have been a different story," added the small forward.
The national cagers started with a 77-76 overtime loss to Can Tho on March 17, but bounced back with a 78-46 win over Ninh Thuan two days later.
Their hopes of returning with medals took a blow when they fell 64-54 to LQ Joton Inc last Monday, with their 66-62 overtime defeat to hosts Soc Trang on Wednesday condemning them to fourth in the five-team table.
Chun Ping had a chance to clinch victory against Soc Trang but his shot at the end of the fourth quarter was off the mark, forcing the game into overtime.
"I could have won the match, but it was a hard shot and there were too many defenders," said Chun Ping, who had 11 points in the game.
Yung Hui, who came up with 10 points against Joton, said that the Vietnamese team who went on to win the competition was impressed by Brunei's performance.
The national team beat Joton 87-83 in the group stage of the 3rd China-Asean Basketball Invitational Tournament at Pingguo County, Guangxi, China, in December, but were on the wrong end of a 77-55 result in their second meeting in the battle for seventh.
"I think we could have won the tournament (in Vietnam) if we had them (Sim and Lim). I think we were fit enough for the tournament, we just lacked height," said the shooting guard.
"Jotun said we have improved a lot. They said we are fast but still lack height.
"I think we had experience playing together (in China) so we played better in Vietnam," added the 26-year-old player, who said that six of the 12 players who competed in China returned for the trip to Vietnam.
Even Kevin Reece, who last week said the team missed the toughness and 'bad boy' attitude that Lim brings to the court, felt the duo's absence was pivotal.
"We would definitely be playing for first and second with them around," said the national coach. "We got three high school players (Foo Gwen Tong, Soon Kian Leong and Jon Lee) to replace two veterans. They were young but they played as well as could have been asked of them." The Brunei Times
Monday, March 28, 2011
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