Young­sters fall to ex­pe­ri­enced Thais

New Straits Times - - Sport -

A YOUNG na­tional team could not trans­late an early lead into vic­tory as Thai­land ral­lied for a 74-67 win on the open­ing day of the South­east Asian Bas­ket­ball Cham­pi­onship in Manila yes­ter­day.

Af­ter leav­ing be­hind a host of key play­ers, coach Goh Cheng Huat’s in­ex­pe­ri­enced side be­gan well and led by 10 points mid­way through the sec­ond quar­ter be­fore run­ning out of steam.

Cheng Huat elected to give ev­ery mem­ber of the 12-man squad game time with the Malaysian bench outscor­ing the Thai re­serves 31-19.

Malaysia led 25-15 af­ter the first quar­ter and 41-36 at half­time be­fore Thai­land ended the third quar­ter on a 14-2 run to take a six-point lead into the last pe­riod.

Thai­land ex­tended their lead to 12 points but a 9-0 Malaysia run capped by Vin­cent Choong’s three-pointer re­duced the deficit to 68-65 with a minute to go.

But the Thais clev­erly drew fouls from the Malaysians and sank six free throws to win by the fi­nal mar­gin.

Choo Wei Hong led the scor­ing for Malaysia with 12 points while Liaw Chee Huei, with 10, was the only other Malaysian to reach dou­ble fig­ures.

Chitchai Ananti led all scor­ers with 24 points while Patiphan Kla­han had 11 points and 11 re­bounds for Thai­land, who opted not to in­clude Amer­ica-born nat­u­ralised play­ers Tyler Lamb and Moses Mor­gan in their squad.

The vic­tory ex­tended Thai­land’s dom­i­nance over Malaysia to six wins in a row since the 2007 Sea Games in Ko­rat.

Malaysia, run­ners-up in 2015, play 2015 Sea Games sil­ver medal­list In­done­sia to­day look­ing for a first win in the sev­en­team com­pe­ti­tion.

Ear­lier, In­done­sia made light of the ab­sences of nat­u­ralised play­ers Ja­marr John­son and Am Arki Wisnu to rout Sin­ga­pore 71-50. Devinder Singh

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