IN Day 2 of the 2012 Malaysian Games in Victoria, the men’s basketball event appeared to be the main event drawing plenty of people courtside. Leon Saw reports.
A total of nine teams duked it out on two indoor courts for the right to be named the best Malaysian basketball team in Victoria. Matches were 25-minute affairs with a minute break after 12 minutes of play, and teams which lost would compete in the loser’s bracket to stay in the competition and progress.
In the end, it was a tale of two juggernauts: Team Power Rangers, the defending champions, against former winners, Team Ai Pia Jia Eh Yia, in the finals.
Earlier, Team Power Rangers had relegated Team Ai Pia Jia Eh Yia to the loser’s bracket, beating them by a single point in a tense quarter-final matchup. Not disheartened, Team Ai Pia Jia Eh Yia dominated the loser’s bracket, eager for round two against Team Power Rangers.
The game was a similar cagey matter with both teams trading point for point, except during the final minute when controversy reared its head. With the score delicately poised at 14-13 in favour of Team Power Rangers, and the ball in their possession, Team Power Rangers took advantage of the absence of a shot clock, due to technical constraints, by loitering around the middle of the court, running the clock down.
Realising their opponents were exploiting a loophole in the rules, Team Ai Pia Jia Eh Yia desperately harried them, trying to regain possession of the ball, only to commit foul after foul, giving away free throws. The match ended with Team Power Rangers winning 18-13, and fortunately, also with amicable handshakes all round.
When quizzed about the incident, Team Power Rangers captain Lee Tik Shen, a recent graduate, mentioned, “Oh definitely, we were wasting time. There was no shot clock so we took advantage of it.”
Team Ai Pia Jia Eh Yia captain Aaron Tham, an accounting student, was more subdued in his responses pointing out, “There should have been a shot clock, maybe not for the other matches, but for something as important as the finals.”
While basketball players were kept nice and toasty indoors, the tennis players were battling the cold, wind, and each other outdoors.
With only four participants, the women’s singles event was the first to be concluded. Elaine Koay, a second year student business student and also the tournament organiser, handily defeated Melbourne University third year biomedicine student and defending champion, Jessica Loh in straight sets, 6-2, 6-1.
Elaine started the match brightly, winning the first game comfortably and breaking Jessica’s serve in the second. Jessica broke back immediately, only to drop her serve again in the fourth game, handing the advantage back to her opponent. Elaine then wrapped up the first set with another break of serve in the eighth game.
Already a set down, Jessica signalled her intent early with a service break in the first game of the second set. However, plagued by inconsistency and unforced errors, she lost the next six games, handing the set, and match to Elaine.
So how did Elaine feel about being in the rather unique situation of winning her own tournament? A sheepish “happy” was her answer, before running off to coordinate the men’s event.
As the action on court continued to heat up, so did Melbourne’s notoriously fickle weather, and out came the heat rubs as fatigue and muscle strains began to set in among the players. But no one was as severely affected as La Trobe University information technology student, Dylan Teoh.
Having not played tennis for more than a year prior to the tournament, Dylan still managed to reach the men’s singles finals before bad cramps effectively incapacitated him. Fighting pain and rising temperatures, Dylan’s uphill task in the finals was made all the more arduous with defending champion, Jonathan Nathar as his opponent.
The first set was all Jonathan, sweeping aside Dylan 6-0.
Dylan rallied in the second set, holding serve in the second game, but his compromised court coverage was no match for his opponent’s assured ground strokes. Jonathan then went on to end Dylan’s valiant tournament run with a powerful forehand winner, finishing the match, 6-0, 6-2.
Jonathan continued his dominance in the men’s doubles, winning the event with Nicholas Chong, beating Marvin Ng and Wai Chung Hui. However, he lost the mixed doubles title with Aina Lim to Amelia Soon and Khek Loon. Amelia also took the women’s doubles title with Jacina Goh, defeating Aina Lim and recently crowned women’s champion, Elaine.
Table tennis and volleyball
The other competitions of the day were in table tennis and volleyball.
Aaron Chua won the men’s table tennis singles event overcoming Muhammad Zulhakim Murad in straight sets, 11-3, 12-10, 11-6. The two would meet again in the men’s doubles finals with their respective partners, Sua Heng Yao and Muhammad Azlan Apandi. The pairing of Aaron and Heng Yao eventually prevailed three sets to nil.
The women’s singles title was claimed by Nicole Phei, downing Emily Yee, 11–2, 11–2, 11–5. Emily however, went on to take the mixed doubles title with Melvin Chee.
The finalised volleyball results were unfortunately not available at press time.