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Blazers fall short against Lord Tiger in EBL - Sep 16, 2016

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Chze Hian
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.
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