Chee Huei the inspirer
MALAYSIA turned on the power in the third quarter to down Myanmar 96-71 and secure fourth place at the Southeast Asian Basketball Championship in Manila yesterday.
Liaw Chee Huei rose to the occasion to score 25 points in leading the Malaysian charge while also grabbing seven rebounds and providing five assists.
He was ably supported by Chin Zhi Shin, who in addition to scoring 22 points, also had 13 rebounds in a commanding display off the board while Heng Yee Tong and Teo Kok Hou contributed 12 and 11 points respectively.
Veteran Chan Kek Thai was not used during the game by coach Goh Cheng Huat, who opted to give more game time to players who did not get as many minutes in the first five games.
In any case, the young Malaysian line-up started well by opening the first quarter with a 9-0 run to build a 12-point lead heading into the second period.
The second quarter was a highscoring period with Malaysia just about outscoring Myanmar 27-26 to head into the half-time break with a 45-32 lead.
But Malaysia came out firing in the third quarter when they went on a 11-2 run to extend the lead to 22 points and virtually put the game beyond Myanmar.
Starting the final 10 minutes with a 75-52 advantage, Cheng Huat had the luxury of giving his bench players a run out as Malaysia cruised to a third consecutive victory following wins over Singapore and Vietnam.
Malaysia ended the seven-team tournament with a 3-3 record despite leaving up to six key players behind as Cheng Huat opted to field a young team to explore his options ahead of the Kuala Lumpur Sea Games in August.
The Philippines finished the round robin league top of the standings to qualify for the Fiba Asia Championship while Indonesia and Thailand ended second and third respectively. Devinder Singh