National C Div Bball: Dunman overcome Unity 73-65 to qualify for final unbeaten in 17 games
By Gan Yu Neng/Red Sports
Clementi Sports Hall, Thursday, August 16, 2012 — Dunman Secondary pulled away in the second quarter with a 21-2 scoring run to create a gap that the defending national champions, Unity Secondary, never recovered from. Dunman went on to win the semi-final 73-65 to move on to the final of the National C Division Basketball Championship. The East Zone champions remain the only team to pass through both zonal and national championships without a single defeat in 17 games.
Dunman’s defense was locked tight thanks to the efforts of Liew Jia Ming (#14), who was simply too tall for Unity to cope with beneath the basket. Jia Ming caught most of his team’s defensive rebounds while blocking Unity’s shots, restricting Unity to shots from mid-range. Unity’s Kovic Lee (#8) and Shahrul Ramdum (#15), both tall and large players themselves, found themselves unable to get close to Dunman’s basket to catch the rebounds.
The effect Jia Ming had on Dunman’s defense was made apparent when he was rested in the third quarter. With Jia Ming on the bench, Unity had their highest-scoring quarter in the entire game, with an easier time retaining both offensive and defensive rebounds.
At one point, Unity made repeated shots at the basket, catching the rebound with each miss and keeping it in play. This lasted until Unity’s Thng Yong An (#5) eventually sank his shot, picking up a foul along the way to make it a successful three-point play.
Instances like these would not occur while Jia Ming was on court for Dunman, ensuring that Unity had no choice but to shoot from range. Jia Ming came back on in the fourth quarter and Unity once again struggled to score.
Unity’s top scorer was Yong An (#5) with a game-high 34 points. Yong An made many spirited attempts to get through Dunman’s defense with his relatively accurate mid-range shots, his desperate fast breaks and his three-point attempts. Yong An made a total of five three-pointers, three of which came one after the other in the final minutes of the last quarter.
In the second half, Yong An also dashed hard to intercept Dunman’s passes and throw-ins, trying to take advantage of Dunman’s passing play to slow their advance and give Unity possession.
Yong An had a strong offensive partnership with John Christopher (#7), with the two of them going for combination fast breaks and passing play to advance the ball past Dunman’s full-court press. Faced with Dunman’s defensive formation at the basket, however, the duo had difficulty getting enough space to shoot.
More than once, with Unity having passed the ball around the perimeter without finding an opportunity to make a shot, John Christopher would be forced to make wild throws to beat the shot clock.
Dunman’s most spectacular attacking player was their captain, Xu Teck Chong (#11), who scored a team-high 25 points. Teck Chong made consecutive running fast breaks after turnovers, often scoring with a lay-up before Unity’s defense could react to his runs.
In the third quarter, even as Unity took advantage of Jia Ming’s absence and fought to close the gap, Teck Chong made 10 points in rapid succession with his running fast breaks to keep Dunman ahead in the game.
Dunman’s Choo Tin Liang (#7) finished 14 points, making him the third highest scorer behind Yong An and Teck Chong. Tin Liang played intelligently, combining fast breaks with careful passing play to advance the ball past Unity’s defense.
In the fourth quarter, Tin Liang made a swift drive up to Unity’s perimeter, then feinted a shot to trigger Unity’s defense and cause them to jump prematurely. Tin Liang instead made a low pass to Jia Ming, who was waiting beneath the basket, to score and extend Dunman’s lead to 60-49.
With Unity 13 points behind midway through the final quarter, Unity played more aggressive physically on the defense while their offense focused on putting in three-pointers. Unity’s last 12 points were all from three-pointers. Including these four, Unity made a total of seven successful three-point shots this match.
The points Unity gained from three-point shots, however, were nullified by free throw points due to fouls for their aggressive play. Dunman earned 11 points from free throws in the last few minutes alone. Unity’s tallest center Shahrul Ramdum (#15) fouled out in the last two minutes.
Over the match, Unity made a total of 26 fouls, and Dunman took advantage of this, scoring 21 points from free throws.
With this win, Dunman will now progress to the final to meet Catholic High, who managed to beat Ahmad Ibrahim 83-69 in the other semi-final.
Dunman’s captain, Teck Chong (#11), was satisfied with his team’s performance.
“We did alright. Our third quarter, we did quite badly — we weren’t focused, and our defense, we just kept letting them score. But we just got back our momentum, got back into the game, and secured the win,” said Teck Chong.
Teck Chong expressed that he was quite excited for the next match, as this was his first time in a national final. Asked about how his team would counter Catholic High’s fearsome ace Toh Tze Cong, he simply replied: “We did it once, so we will just try it again: our defense against him.”
Dunman has beaten Catholic High once before, during a second round match that saw Tze Cong fouling out and Dunman winning by a margin of 15 points.
The national final will be held on Thursday, August 23rd, at Jurong East Sports Hall. Tip off will be at 2.30pm.
Unity will now play for third place against Ahmad Ibrahim in a rematch of their last Round 2 match. Then, Ahmad Ibrahim had managed to win by a considerable margin of 20 points. The match will take place on Wednesday, August 22nd, 3pm, at Clementi Sports Hall.
Score by Quarter
Dunman vs Unity
1st Q: 16-17
2nd Q: 23-8 (39-25)
3rd Q: 15-24 (54-49)
4th Q: 19-16
Final Score: 73-65
Xu Teck Chong (#11) — 25 points
Choo Tin Liang (#7) — 14 points
Liew Jia Ming (#14) — 11 points
Joshua Aias (#13) — 10 points
Mohamed Shukri bin Monof (#10) — 8 points
Nor Farhan (#8) — 4 points
Alex Shao (#15) — 1 point
Thng Yong An (#5) — 34 points
John Christopher (#7) — 10 points
Foo Jun Lin (#10) — 8 points
Lee Kovic (#8) — 5 points
Tan Ming Hui (#9) — 4 points
Shahrul Ramdum (#15) — 4 points
Benedict Ong (#4), Nur Hamkah (#5), Darren Ng (#6), Choo Tin Liang (#7), Nor Farhan (#8), Chng Yaw Hao (#9), Mohamed Shukri bin Monof (#10), Xu Teck Chong (#11), Tan Yi Rong (#12), Joshua Aias (#13), Liew Jia Ming (#14), Alex Shao (#15)
Indra Dzuliman (#4), Thng Yong An (#5), Markus Lin (#6), John Christopher (#7), Lee Kovic (#8), Tan Ming Hui (#9), Foo Jun Lin (#10), David Martin (#11), Muhd Afiq (#12), Brandon Tan (#13), Leon Chin (#14), Shahrul Ramdum (#15)
More photos in gallery next page