Malaysia completed their impeccable run in the 4th China-ASEAN Men’s Basketball Invitational Tournament held in Nanning by pipping China Guangxi 74-72 in the final on Monday night in front of over 5,000 fans.
Malaysia dispatched Myanmar, Singapore, China Pingguo, Laos and Hong Kong during the group stage and went on to beat Chinese Taipei 95-80 in the semifinals.
In Monday’s title decider, they met a stiff resistance from China Guangxi and the tie could have gone either way. In the end, Malaysia prevailed by two points to clinch the winners trophy of the international tournament that featured eleven teams.
Meanwhile on Monday, Singapore thrashed Chinese Taipei 124-89 to secure third place.
Despite showing considerable promise in the group stage, Cambodia ended up in seventh after beating Macau in a playoff on Monday. The team, however, will be buoyed by the knowledge that they finished above three of their Southeast Asian rivals - Vietnam, Myanmar and Laos – ahead of participation at the 26th SEA Games in Indonesia, which starts in nine days.
With 8 out of the 11 ASEAN nations confirmed to take part at this year’s tournament, fifth seeded Cambodia will be looking for a favourable draw.
“We don’t know who our opponents are for now, but we know that Thailand, Philippines, Singapore, Vietnam, Myanmmar, Malaysia, and Indonesia are coming for basketball,” Cambodia head coach Austin Koledoye told the Post yesterday.
“Our first target is to get out of the group stage ... The China tournament has helped us to know our weaknesses and we shall correct them before the SEA Games.”
According to the head coach, the team will take a short break before resuming training on Friday and will leave for Jakarta on November 9.
The Philippines are the overwhelmingly dominant force at the SEA Games, having claimed all but one of the gold medals from the last 15 editions. Their only blemish came in 1989, when Games hosts Malaysia caused an upset in the final to drop the Filipinos into second. Thailand and Indonesia are also consistent podium placers.
ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY DAN RILEY