THE RETURN OF BRUNEI's PRODIGAL CAGER? - Jan 8, 2011
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The return of Brunei's prodigal cager
IS IT finally going to happen?
Esmond Tan revealed to The Brunei Times last July that chances of him making it into the national basketball team were slim from the start due to his personal commitments.
The national basketball coach Kevin Reece had left the door open for players to join his training scheme to be selected to the squad and Tan was one who failed to comply.
But now the 26-year-old will finally lace up and start off his new year with a bang by joining in the national training next week.
'I think I'll be back to training with the national team starting this Monday. I'm really looking forward to training this year. However, it will be a big commitment,' said Tan, during an interview with The Brunei Times, yesterday.
'But it is up to the coach to decide if it's acceptable for me to train two weeks each month,' he added.
Tan is an employee with Brunei Shell Petroleum and is required to work offshore two weeks before returning to land.
'I want to be back like the old days and get fit once again. I believe that I have been slacking quite a lot compared to few years back due to work commitments,' he said.
Reece had mentioned that the motto in the new year for the national team was '15-strong' whereby only the best 15 would be selected and he would develop these players.
The competition at the camp is high and a place in the national team will not be a breeze for Tan, who is arguably the best cager in the country, but he is ready to take up the challenge.
'I'm going to train as much as I can and hopefully it won't be too tough for me to cope with. I know that I'm going to have to fight for it and I'm never going to give up,' said Tan.
If Tan were to make it into the national squad then he would be considered the 'old man' of the team considering the youth of the roster.
Tan's move forward to join in the training shows that he is far from being a disappointment to the country.
Tan was one of the four local cagers - Benjamin Lim, Hj Md Badri Hj Suhaili and Lim Aik Hock - who quit the Barracudas last month. Nadzaty Azma Azeez, the owner of the Barracudas, then labelled them as 'unprofessional' and branded the four as a 'disappointment to the country'.
Hj Md Badri and Aik Hock have trained with Reece before while Benjamin might follow in Tan's footsteps in the near future.
'I'm back into my business and picking up from where I left off before joining the Barracudas. Regarding about the national team, I'm not too sure because it all depends on my business schedule,' said Benjamin.
'With the current national training programme from what I heard, it requires a big commitment,' he added.
'As of now, E Fu (Aik Hock) and I are trying to keep ourselves in shape by playing pickup ball with friends at the BBA court,' he continued.
Benjamin also set a target for himself in the new year to become one of the best in the country as well,' said Benjamin.
'My target is to try to challenge Esmond, who I consider the best basketball player in the country right now. Also, I've to keep a competitive edge over players like Badri who is working really hard.'
Michael Parala (196-F-89) lifted the Labuan Wasps to the final of the Yuwang EBL Basketball League with a come from behind 82-79 victory over the Kota Kinabalu Eagles last night. Parala scored 14 of his 19 points in the deciding period, including the basket to separate the two sides in Kuching. The final will be a repeat of last year's where Kuching Lord Tiger won 86-64 to clinch the inaugural title. The see-saw game was deadlocked at 79-79 with a minute to go. The Eagles had the chance t... [read more]
Michael Parala (196-F-89) lifted the Labuan Wasps to the final of the Yuwang EBL Basketball League with a come from behind 82-79 victory over the Kota Kinabalu Eagles last night. Parala scored 14 of his 19 points in the deciding period, including the basket to separate the two sides in Kuching. The final will be a repeat of last year's where Kuching Lord Tiger won 86-64 to clinch the inaugural title. The see-saw game was deadlocked at 79-79 with a minute to go. The Eagles had the chance to go back up but John Foronda missed his attempt inside the paint with 43 seconds to go. Parala converted a three-point play with 24 seconds left. Argel Mendoza missed a game-tying trey with 11 seconds left and the Eagles had to foul Kennedie Teo immediately. The latter missed both his shots. Mendoza had another opportunity with a half court heave but missed. Courtesy of: bt.com.bn
Blazers fall short against Lord Tiger in EBL - 7 months ago
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THE Beruang Blazers fell short yet again to the defending champions Kuching Lord Tiger after a 94-90 loss in the fourth leg of the Yuwang EBL Basketball League last night. The Brunei side had fallen to a 66-64 heartbreak against the same side at the Kota Kinabalu Community Hall on Sunday. The game looked over as the Lord Tiger were ahead 93-80 with two minutes left to play in the fourth quarter at the Brunei Basketball Association (BBA) court in Batu Bersurat. Lyndon Gudez then went on an... [read more]
THE Beruang Blazers fell short yet again to the defending champions Kuching Lord Tiger after a 94-90 loss in the fourth leg of the Yuwang EBL Basketball League last night. The Brunei side had fallen to a 66-64 heartbreak against the same side at the Kota Kinabalu Community Hall on Sunday. The game looked over as the Lord Tiger were ahead 93-80 with two minutes left to play in the fourth quarter at the Brunei Basketball Association (BBA) court in Batu Bersurat. Lyndon Gudez then went on an 8-0 personal run to give the Blazers a lifeline with over a minute to play. Darren Chai then made two freethrows to bring the game to a single possession at 93-90 with 39 seconds left. The hosts had a chance to go for the tie after Lord Tiger gifted ball possession back to the Blazers as Ramsey Williams was whistled for an offensive foul off the inbounds. The Blazers took a timeout but it never materialised as Benjamin Sim stole the ball off Darren after the inbounds. The Brunei side only recovered the ball with 14 seconds left and Darren, not knowing the time left on the clock, air balled a contested three-pointer three seconds later. The Blazers had to foul to stop the clock and Joon Kang Lee (176-G-99) split his charities with three seconds left to extend the Lord Tiger's unbeaten streak to 10 games. Blazers coach Hj Md Sofrian Hj Md Yusof, who is known as Ryan, was disappointed to finish at the losing end. 'Earlier on they (Lord Tiger) were making baskets and we were slow getting back on defence. But the players tried their best and we did claw back into the game,' said Ryan in an interview with The Brunei Times after the defeat. 'We made it close and just fell short again. It is heartbreaking but I think it is a lesson for us. 'We started strong with some lapses in between. Nonetheless, the effort on the court was incredible. Hopefully we keep the energy up for tomorrow (Saturday night),' he added. The Blazers had all three of their imports in double figures for the outing with Gudez leading the way with 24 points, which included five treys, while Hernal 'Wowie' Escosio added 15 points. Singaporean centre Goh Delvin (199-C-95), who only took eight shots and missed one the whole game, contributed a double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds. Darren was the other in double figures for the Brunei side with 14 points in a losing effort. Lord Tiger had distributed scoring with five players hitting double figures. Chze Hian Chai (180-G-82) was on fire for the Lord Tiger as he was perfect from the field, except a missed free throw, in the first half to tally 21 points. He eventually finished with a game-high of 36 points with only two missed field goals from his 16 attempts. The duo of Sim and Yiek Chai Teck added 11 points apiece while Jessie Collado (193-F-87), who never returned after an injury in the second quarter, and Bobby Balacunag notched 10 points each in the victory. The Lord Tiger got off to a good start as the Blazers were not getting back fast enough on defence. However, the Blazers rallied back to carry a 29-22 lead going into the second period after a Goh putback at the buzzer. Goh and Escosio did most of damage for the Blazers to finish with 10 and nine points respectively in the opening period. The Lord Tiger started the second quarter with an 8-0 run before Gudez nailed a trey to stop the rot. The Blazers were having trouble press breaking their opponents but remained ahead 52-49 at half time after Gudez hit a buzzer beating three-pointer. The hosts scored the first four points after the interval but the Lord Tiger turned things around with a 14-0 run. The defending champions were running the floor and executing their offence to take a 74-62 advantage into the final stanza. Earlier, Labuan Wasps fell 96-79 to the KK Eagles. John Foronda (197-C) had a double-double with 23 points and 16 rebounds to lead the Eagles while Nicol Bolos added 22 points. On the other hand, Ng Sing Tee notched 22 points for the Wasps. The Blazers will next take on the Eagles today at 9pm right after the matchup between the Lord Tiger and Wasps at 7pm. Courtesy of: bt.com.bn
Gritty Blazers edge Eagles in thriller - 7 months ago
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THE Beruang Blazers put up their best showing to date in the Yuwang EBL Basketball League to hold on for a 79-76 victory over Kota Kinabalu Eagles in the third leg last night. Filipino import Lyndon Gudez was back to his usual self after recovering from a sprained finger on his shooting hand to finish with a game-high of 29 points to lead the Blazers to their second win in the competition. Captain Ben Sim knocked off his shooting slump from the previous leg to record 18 points, which incl... [read more]
THE Beruang Blazers put up their best showing to date in the Yuwang EBL Basketball League to hold on for a 79-76 victory over Kota Kinabalu Eagles in the third leg last night. Filipino import Lyndon Gudez was back to his usual self after recovering from a sprained finger on his shooting hand to finish with a game-high of 29 points to lead the Blazers to their second win in the competition. Captain Ben Sim knocked off his shooting slump from the previous leg to record 18 points, which included four treys, while Singaporean centre Goh Delvin (199-C-95) notched a double-double with 15 points and 12 boards in the win. On the other hand, Filipino import John Foronda (197-C) produced a double-double of 26 points and 12 rebounds to pace the Eagles. His compatriot Argel Mendoza was the other in double figures with 23 points to a losing cause. The Blazers got off to a ferocious start with strong man-to-man defence to lead by as many as 12 points in the opening half. However, the Eagles came storming back in the second period and to close to within 42-40 at halftime. The hosts grabbed the lead for the first time after scoring the first four points after the interval two minutes into the frame. They got their largest lead at 49-45 midway through the third period courtesy of a trey by Helbert Legada. The Eagles were then held without a field goal and the Blazers went on a 12-1 run for the next three minutes to eventually carry a 64-58 advantage into the final stanza. It was a physical affair but the Blazers held their ground and were in front 73-65 with over three minutes to go before back-to-back baskets by the Eagles. The Bruneian side took a timeout to regroup and Sim hit five straight points including a circus shot to make it 78-71 with less than two minutes left. Mendoza then converted a three-point play to cut the deficit and was fouled shooting a trey with a minute to go. He missed the first from the free-throw line before connecting on the next two to make it a one possession game at 78-76. The Blazers came up empty handed at the other end and Mendoza had a chance to give the hosts the lead with 36 seconds left but Choo Yung Jian (175-G-88) came to the rescue of the Blazers to block his three-point shot. The Eagles had to foul with the time winding down and Gudez was sent to the line with 12 seconds to go but he split his charities to give the Eagles a lifeline. However, Mendoza was off the mark with his game-tying three-pointer despite a good look at the basket to see the Blazers win their first in three meetings against their opponents. Blazers coach Hj Md Sofrian Hj Md Yusof, also known as Ryan, was delighted with the win and paid tribute to his players for the strong showing. 'As a team we played tremendously well and everybody did their part. It is the best game we have played and we wanted to make sure that we do everything we can to win,' said Ryan in an interview with The Brunei Times after the triumph. 'The officiating here is a bit different but we held our own but if we focus on what we need to do, we will play a really good game and it showed tonight (Friday night). 'I'm proud of my players. Lyndon was back to himself and both Wowie (Hernal Escosio) and Delvin did well,' he added. 'I also have so much appreciation for the local players for stepping up when I needed them the most. 'I hope that we will carry this positivity into the next game (against the Labuan Wasps at 7pm today) with the same finesse and intensity,' concluded Ryan. In the earlier game, defending champions Kuching Lord Tiger extended their unbeaten run in the competition to seven games after a 108-80 win over the Wasps. Courtesy of: bt.com.bn
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