Contributed by reader
Guangxi, China, December 2008 – Home United Basketball Club represented Singapore and finished third at the 1st China-ASEAN CBO Men's Basketball Invitational Tournament from December 15th to 23rd 2008 in Pingguo County, Guangxi.
A total of eight teams from the region took part in this inaugural competition aimed at fostering friendship and cooperation between Guangxi and its ASEAN neighbours.
Home United Basketball Club finished in third place behind South East Asian powerhouse Philippines and the home team, Guangxi-China. This was one of the rare moments in international basketball where Singapore's national flag was raised to the rafters alongside the Philippine and Chinese national flags during the prize presentation ceremony.
The road to third place was not an easy one as Home United were placed in the tougher Group B along with Vietnam, Brunei, and tournament favourites Philippines. Group B teams would go on to win all the classification and medal matches on the last day of competition against Group A opponents. Group A consisted of Macau China, Myanmar, Johor-Malaysia, and Guangxi-China.
In the opening game against Brunei, both teams had to brave temperatures of below 10Â°C outside to get to their 8am tip-off. With the ball feeling like a block of ice, Home United struggled to get into any rhythm in the first half and allowed Brunei to go into half-time trailing by just one point.
Brunei had two excellent one-on-one players who scored most of their points on acrobatic drives to the basket.
In the 3rd quarter, Home United locked down on defense against Brunei and our superior team balance showed with more than eight players scoring five points or more for the game. Home United led by 13 at the end of the 3rd quarter and secured that margin of victory at the end.
The second game versus Vietnam was held the following night at 8.30pm and the players had to readjust to the late start as well as the full-house crowd. Home United came well prepared this time round and opened a 10-point lead in the 1st quarter. Inside play was the key to this game as Home United outscored Vietnam 79 to 45 in the paint, cruising to our biggest win of the tournament.
That set up the game against the Philippines to determine the Group Champion the very next morning.
Despite having just eight hours of rest between the Vietnam and Philippines games, Home United showed no signs of fatigue as we played one of the best games of our tournament. The Philippines team was made up of their best collegiate players who were getting ready to become professional players in the PBA but Home United did not back down and played them point for point throughout the match.
Despite losing out in size and strength in the post, Home United capitalized on their quickness to deny the Philippines post players inside position and reduced them to a jump shooting team. Solid defensive rebounding and offensive execution kept us in the game and Philippines could not pull away.
The game entered its final 5 minutes with Philippines leading by just two points. This was when the Philippines #5 took over and his blazing speed and accurate pull-up jumper took the game away from Home United.
With the loss, Home United finished second in Group B to set up a semi-final clash against Group A champions, Guangxi-China.
The semi-finals were held in a terrific atmosphere with 3,500 packed into the stadium cheering the home team on. Guangxi-China was the tallest team in the tournament and their starting point guard was almost as tall as Home United's tallest player.
Despite our tremendous success against the Philippine inside game the previous night, Guangxi-China proved too much to handle in the post, putting all three of our big men in early foul trouble. Their centre #11 scored 28 points and led Guangxi-China to a 78-63 victory. #11 proved to be one of the players of the tournament as he poured on more than 30 points in the finals against the Philippines.
Home United's final match was against Macau China in the 3rd place playoff. Macau China made it into the semis with victories over Myanmar and Johor-Malaysia but lost to the Philippines in the other semi-finals. Macau were missing two starters for the earlier matches but brought them in for this game to face Home United. This made them a much stronger team and it showed during the game where they prevented Home United from pulling away.
The scores were very close for the 1st three quarters but Home United's experience and fighting spirit showed at the end. In the fourth quarter, we put Macau in foul trouble and pulled away with clutch baskets and key defensive stops, emerging with an 82-74 victory and claiming third place in the tournament.
The players and officials from Home United stood proudly as Singapore's flag was raised during the prize presentation ceremony. It was an inspiring sight and it certainly bodes well for the future of Home United Basketball Club.
Dec 17, 08
Home Utd 81 Brunei 68
Dec 18, 08
Home Utd 79 Vietnam 45
Dec 19, 08
Home Utd 64 Philippines 75
Dec 20, 08
Home Utd 63 Guangxi 78
3rd/4th place match
Dec 21, 08
Home Utd 82 Macau 74
won 3rd position
2. China - Guangxi
3. Singapore - Home United
4. China - Macau
6. Malaysia - Johor
Home Utd lineup
#4 Mitchell Folkoff
#5 Alan Lim
#7 Jason Tan KC
#8 Ong Chee Kian
#9 Derek Aw
#10 Koh Meng Koon
#12 Jason Goh WL
#13 Tay Wee Khong
#14 Khng En Ning
#15 Low Jiaren