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Singapore Basketball (Men)

Pathman ready against Southeast Asian rivals - Sep 1, 2009


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GREG
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Pathman
Matialakan
The Singapore Slingers center spoke to the media after CEO Bob Turner and GM Michael Johnson had addressed the crowd at the third annual Captain's rally for the 'pride of the Lion City'. Pathman said he felt confident in playing against opponents from the region due to his familiarity and experience from years of playing for the national side.

'I'm not a stranger to playing ASEAN opponents; I've been playing basketball for Singapore for almost ten years now,' said the 6-7 forward/center. 'Played against a lot of the players from Southeast Asia for the past few years, so it's nothing new to me.'

'I'm really looking forward to playing those players again. But we are playing in a different team now; a team which has more Singaporeans with seven local players. Six of them are playing professional basketball for the very first time. I've been playing for four years.'

'It's a very big step up for the new guys, and they will have to prove themselves worthy of a spot in the team.'

'It's not going to be easy playing in the ABL, because we playing with many first-timers, but we're going to have four or five imports, which is going to balance out that inexperience,' added Pathman. 'These guys are going to add experience and strength to the team.'

'So if everything works out, we're going to have a very good blend of youth and experience - guys who have played at the highest level and guys who are coming up; trying to prove that they belong at this level. It's something to forward to, and it's going to be exciting.'

'At the very least, we have our own league, and it's going to be competitive. There are going to be league standings, teams playing for the playoffs, and even a grand final, which is good compared to last season where we only played friendlies, inviting teams over to play exhibition games. Nothing to look forward to, as we won't finish first, second, third or fourth. Just play the friendly, finish it, next game. Play another friendly, finish that, next game.'

The stout Singapore post player is looking forward to taking what he's learnt from playing in the Australian ABL and applying it against his adversaries in the ABL.

'Playing against those guys [in the NBL] taught me a lot of things, because those guys are stronger,' stated Pathman. 'Those guys may be 6-9, 6-10, but they're not really that slow. They are pretty quick on the court. Me being 6-7, playing against guys are bigger, stronger and faster, it only can help you improve.'

'You know you're going to get stronger, you know you're going to get faster playing against superior competition. So it really helped me a lot. I basically knew where I stood, playing at that level.'

'Coming back to the Asian level, I've already played at a high level, so my job will be to play hard at every game, use what I've learnt from that NBL experience in this Asian league; teach and encourage the youngsters, tell them what's right and what's wrong,' added the 29-year-old. 'I'm going to take more of a leadership role, be a big brother to the younger players.'

Finally, when asked to compare the local game in Singapore to the regional Southeast version of it, Pathman expressed that the difference in standard was like day and night.

'It's a huge, huge,huge step up,' exclaimed Pathman. 'It is way above the level of what we're used to; what basketball used to be like in Singapore.'

'Playing basketball locally and playing ball regionally is very different. The standard of the sport regionally is a lot, lot higher.'

'People think that Singaporeans playing Thais or Indonesians will be similar to us playing our peers locally, but it's not,' continued the Singapore international. 'Guys in the region do take their basketball very seriously, and they do have very good leagues and national sides.'

'Their players are all very good, which will make the ABL very competitive. It will be extremely competitive this year. And playing in the ABL, if you win you're the king of Southeast Asia, a king of Asia. You get bragging rights, be it a win against a Thai team or a Filipino team.'

'We're looking forward to the challenge, and playing in the league will only raise the basketball level of Singapore.'
  




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