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Can Lightning Strike Twice? - Oct 17, 2010

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Saturday, October 16, 2010

ABL: Barracudas look for home win against Patriots.

THEY SAY lightning doesn't strike the same place twice but the Brunei Barracudas are hoping that tonight will be an exception.

Brunei's first professional basketball club recorded their most memorable win in the Asean Basketball League when they beat defending champions the Philippine Patriots 95-70 in Brunei last December, the result the first time a team from the Sultanate had beaten the region's powerhouse at their own game.

As the two teams prepare to do battle again at the Indoor Stadium of the Hassanal Bolkiah National Stadium in Berakas today, it was only natural that talk would again turn to that 'mother of all victories' as a former Barracudas player put it.

'We are always confident we don't enter games not confident,' said Barracudas manager Benny Ang last night ahead of the team's first home game.

'That's probably the first rule of basketball (being confident).

'With that said I know we had a bad start going 0-2. We have a tough schedule and we face the defending champions three times in our opening six games.

'But we must play them anyway so it's good that we'll get that out of the way,' added Ang.

Bottom of the six-team table after going winless in their first two games, the Barracudas lost their season opener 71-62 to the Patriots at the Ynares Sports Arena at Pasig City on Oct 4 and fell 76-59 to the Thailand Slammers at the Nimibutr National Stadium in Bangkok last Saturday.

They face the Patriots again in Brunei on Nov 6.

'We go into this game as underdogs and we acknowledge that,' said Ang.

'We are not expecting another 25-point win.

'I think the Patriots weren't expecting us to play like that when they were here last December but I think they will be more prepared.

'No matter how you cut it, any team from the Philippines are always going to be head and shoulders above the rest when it comes to an Asean basketball tournament.

'The way the league is set up every team get to have imports ... That doesn't really level things up but it does make it better.

'We haven't fully gelled on the court yet but we are getting there, so I ask the Brunei fans to be patient with us.

'Come to the games, we'll give you some exciting basketball,' promised the manager.

Away from home the Barracudas still haven't swum their way to a win against the Patriots, falling 70-56 in December and 87-65 in January.

Though the Patriots will be without import Anthony Johnson, who is sidelined with a hamstring injury, Ang doesn't believe the American's loss will come back to haunt the visitors considering how their other players stepped up during their 62-59 win against the Singapore Slingers last Saturday.

The 6ft 6in Johnson was the game's joint top-scorer with the Barracudas' Chris Garnett with 23 points when the two teams first met. Johnson also hauled down 12 rebounds.

The Patriots still have Johnson's compatriot Donald Little to go to though, the 6ft 10in committing 11 turnovers against the Singaporeans but racking up five blocks in 37 minutes of action.

His defensive effort was not lost on Patriots' head coach Louie Alas.

'He is slowly getting his game and he played the role of an intimidator against Singapore,' said Alas of Little, who has averaged nine points and eight rebounds.

'Against Brunei, we have to play the same defensive intensity.

'As long as we keep the score low we have a good chance of winning,' Alas was quoted as saying on the online version of the Manila Bulletin.
courtesy of Jasen Thomas / Brunei Times

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