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Coach Wells gets nods from local Barracudas - Sep 27, 2010

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American coach Ozell Wells must be pulling all the right strings for the Brunei Barracudas as most of the local players interviewed have expressed preference for his coaching style.

The Barracudas have been practising for the past week at the Brunei Basketball Association court in Batu Bersurat in preparation for the AirAsia ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) which will start on Oct 2 in Thailand and things are looking up.

Esmond Tan, arguably Brunei's best cager, gave the 33-year-old mentor two thumbs up.

'Training has really been very good under the coach as we learn something new everyday. He gives us a good workout and I can see that my personal skills are showing improvement,' said Tan, in an interview with The Brunei Times yesterday.

'He's getting us ready to play and we need to be in shape but most importantly is to get to know each other and that is exactly what he (Wells) is trying to do,' added the 26-year-old.

One of the most exciting things Coach Wells has incorporated into his training programme is taking the squad to the beach for a workout just before sunrise.

'Everyone on the team looks forward to it eventhough it means getting to the beach at 6am. It's a good workout and it benefits us in helping on our footwork which is all part of training,' said Tan.

Xavier Fong, a teammate of Tan in Plaza Sutera Biru who won back-to-back titles in the BBA Open Challenge Trophy in April and the 2010 Yong Sol Cup in May, shared similar sentiments.

'The beach morning sessions were really exciting. We never had a chance like this before and we're picking up a lot of new things along the way. Nothing is the same in his daily programme,' said Fong.

'The coach is pushing all the local players to train hard on both defence and offence. Even the import players are helping us. They look after us by correcting our mistakes and pushing us as well,' he added.

One thing is for sure is that Fong already feels that the team is gelling together despite a whole new lineup of imports for the sophomore season.

'The coach wants us to stick together and I believe that everyone feels the same when I say that we are a team,' said Fong.

'I'm sure that all the local players on the team will improve and this is really good for Brunei basketball,' he added.

Presley Ho feels that he has gained a lot of knowledge despite the coach being here for only a short period of time.

'Everything he teaches is fresh. It is very interesting and I feel that I'm gaining more confidence in my game. I'm always looking forward to training because there is always something new,' said Ho.

The other local players in the Barracudas roster include Benjamin Lim, Hj Md Badri Hj Suhaili, Zainul Ashyraf Hj Hussin, Jamri Ramlee and Soon Kian Leong.

The foreign imports are the duo of Americans, Chris Commons and Kenny Boyd, while the Asean imports are the trio of Kevin White, Chester Tolomia and Bryan Faundo.

The Barracudas will kick off their campaign against defending champions Philippine Patriots on Oct 3 at the Ynares Sports Arena in the Philippines.

Courtesy of The Brunei Times   

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