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IT WILL be another hill to climb for the Brunei national basketball team when they face off against Vietnam today in Group B of the Third China-Asean Basketball Invitational tournament at Pingguo County, Guangxi, China.

The national squad were outclassed in both of their matches so far, starting off their campaign with a 100-58 demolition by hosts Guangxi on Tuesday followed by an 83-57 thrashing by Hong Kong on Thursday.

The national team have been suffering from attrition with several players picking up injuries in the two matches played and height have been the biggest factor in those losses thus far.

'Vietnam are bigger than us but not by a lot. We'll just have to go out there and play our game,' said Kevin Reece, the national basketball coach, during an interview with The Brunei Times, yesterday.

The Vietnam team is represented by LQ Joton Inc, who recently won the 2010 Vietnam Basketball Championship Copper Cup, under the Vietnam Basketball Federation.

In both those losses, Ben Sim has been the brightest spot amongst the national cagers scoring 20 points in each of the games.

'He's dominating at both ends of the floor, scoring and going back on defence to block shots,' said Reece.

' (Soon Kian) Leong has been putting up good games as well and we're hoping to start him against Vietnam,' he added.

'It is just too bad that we didn't come up with the win despite the team playing good basketball,' continued the American.

Nonetheless, the Los Angeles native remains positive that the team will continue to improve with time.

'We'll continue building up the team. This is a marathon not a sprint like I said before. Traditionally Brunei will get beat against bigger competition but it is slowly improving,' concluded the 50-year-old.

Filipino Don Mordeno might be fit for the game against Vietnam after picking up a deep cut to his right hand in the match against Hong Kong while it remains to be seen if Foo Gwen Tong will be suiting up for the game after suffering a cut to his right eyebrow against Guangxi.

courtesy of BRUNEI TIMES   

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