Story and photos by Low Zheng Yu/Red Sports
The Wave, NTU, Thursday, July 13, 2017 — National University of Singapore (NUS) came back from 22 points down to get a 70-62 victory over Nanyang Technological University (NTU) in the semi-final of the National Youth Sports Institute (NYSI) Basketball League.
With this win, NUS now have a 5-1 win-loss record and will move on to the final.
NTU’s first loss in the League proved costly and they drop to a 4-1 record.
Auston Quek (NUS #9) knocked down a three to kick-start the game. However, NTU were quick to respond. Justin Lim (NTU #26) answered with an offensive put-back on the ensuing play as NTU went on an 8-0 run to pull ahead. Despite the high energy level of the game, both teams could not find their mark. It was a low scoring first quarter as NTU led 10-5 at the buzzer.
In the second quarter, NTU picked up their pace offensively and upped their defensive intensity. They limited NUS at 12 points while they went on an offensive surge to score 27 points in the quarter. Tok Jian Sheng (NTU #4) led the way as he scored 12 of his game-high 20 points to give NTU the 20-point lead at the half.
Heading into the third, Leong Kai Yuan (NUS #15) managed to slip free of his defender for an easy under-basket shot but NTU were quick to respond with Justin Lim (NTU #26) making the offensive put-back. Tok Jian Sheng (NTU #4) made two threes in a row as NTU took their largest lead of the game at 22 points.
Despite that, NUS were not ready to give up just yet. When Jian Sheng (NTU #4) made two three-pointers, NUS responded with three three-pointers of their own and were able to cut the NTU lead down to 18 by the end of the third.
The third quarter helped to pave the way for the NUS comeback as they rode on the momentum created to bridge the gap. NUS went on a 16-0 run with a barrage of three-point shots to cut the NTU lead down to three points.
Justin Lim (NTU #26) made an offensive put-back to bring NTU’s lead back up to five but NUS were unfazed and continued their hot shooting. Rolu Monilla (NUS #3) hit a three to cut the lead down to two.
With less than a minute to play, Raymond Loo (NUS #10) stepped up big time to knock down the clutch corner three ball off an assist from Rolu (NUS #3) to give NUS the one-point lead over NTU.
NUS continued to play big time defensively and were able to convert on their free-throws down the stretch to seal the deal. NUS outscored NTU 30-4 in the fourth to complete their comeback and take the game 70-62.
Raymond Loo (NUS #10), who knocked down the clutch three despite a sore ankle, commented, “I think at the start we were pretty flustered. A lot of things weren’t going our way and we were over eager as we are a young team. But throughout the course of the match, we adapted on the fly and played more freely. We weren’t too focused on the deficit or like why our plays aren’t working or NTU outscoring us in the paint. We took it one possession at a time and then we slowly cut down the lead and chased our way back to get the win.”
“I think it was muscle memory. It came straight from the training ground. I feel that an ankle injury is not an excuse and I think everyone here have some sort of injury or bad day, but it’s just hard work on the training ground. Once it translated into the match, it sorts of become natural and it’s definitely a good feeling to chase all the way back against a bigger and physical team.”
“Actually I am going on Reservist during the final so I may or may not play. But it is a learning experience and we just got to play with confidence. For me there’s always a saying, when we train, we got to train like runners-up. We got to keep pushing as though someone is always better than us. But when we play we got to play like champions, play with that confidence. But I think something that always goes missing through the adrenaline and course of the match is to play with grace. We don’t want to win through dirty tricks or unsportsmanlike behavior. We try to achieve that. Winning but doing it properly.”
Scoring by Quarter
NUS vs NTU
1st Q: 05-10
2nd Q: 12-27 (17-37)
3rd Q: 23-21 (40-58)
4th Q: 30-04 (70-62)
Rolu Monilla (#3) – 17 pts
Lester Ng Jia Wei (#6) – 15 pts
Raymond Loo Jian Wei (#10) – 10 pts
Tok Jian Sheng (#4) – 20 pts
Gideon Wong Songkai (#2), Rolu Monilla (#3), Zhuang Bao Kun (#5), Lester Ng Jia Wei (#6), Chan Wai Hon (#7), Ng Yao Zhong (#8), Auston Quek Xin Wei (#9), Raymond Loo Jian Wei (#10), John Zhang Jiong Yang (#11), Dillon Low Chun Kiat (#13), Leong Kai Yuan (#15), Ong Sze Chuan (#18), Han Jun Seo Kevin (#22), Wayne Tan Wei Herng (#23), Lim Dao Han (#24), Mohd Danish Han Bin Mohd Illias Han (#99), Ming Rong Clement, Devin Nethanael, Ashley Ng Ming Xiang, Terry Tan Soon Lee
Yiew Zhi Heng (#1), Chia Zao Liang Lyon (#2), Wong Liang Hao Brian (#3), Tok Jian Sheng (#4), Seah Chin Seng (#6), Pek Yong Kang (#7), Kan Wei Huat (#8), Kua Hiong Yong (#10), Ronald Yip Lang Jing (#11), Tan Zhi Sen (#14), Wenhan (#15), Chua Cheng Wei (#20), Alvin (#23), Lim Yong Cheng Justin (#26), Liau Ming Shun (#27), Tan Bo Yao (#33), Xavier Toh Hong Sheng, Hoo Kang Sean, Jabez Su Ming Rong,
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