Story and photos by Low Zheng Yu/Red Sports
NTU The Wave, Monday, October 9, 2017 — Defending champions Nanyang Technological University (NTU) made use of their good start to defeat National University of Singapore (NUS) 80-49 in the final of the Singapore University Games (SUniG) Basketball Championship.
Russel Loh (NTU #32) scored a game-high 31 points.
NTU started the game strongly, with Russel Loh (NTU #32) using of an array of moves to get to the hoop. Too strong and big, Russel (NTU #32) was able to score at will in the post area. NTU were also making their shots while playing good defense to prevent NUS from making easy baskets. NTU got off to their best start of their SUniG season, leading 21-10 after the first quarter.
“Good things happen when we play hard and play together, as we saw in today’s finals. We picked a really good time to finally have a good start to a game,” said captain Sean Hoo (NTU #30).
Russel (NTU #32) continued his dominant performance and NTU recognized that and ran the offense through him. Russel (NTU #32) was able to score when he could and made plays for his teammates by looking for the open shooter when he got double or triple teamed to allow NTU to increase their lead farther.
“Having Russel today really helped us a lot. He is a big presence inside. If you ask me, I would think he is Singapore’s best center. And anytime you have someone like him on your team, I think the opponent is in for a tough time,” added captain Sean (NTU #30).
“He played a very very big part in our game today. As you can see, once we fed the ball inside to him, once he put the ball down on the ground, there were two or three defenders who were trying to D him up and collapse on him. Because of that, anytime he got the ball, there was definitely going to be somebody open. It helps that he is a damn good passer as well, he can look for those open cutters. We had a few easy baskets from basket cuts just because people drop whatever they were doing to go and help on Russel.”
NUS, on the other hand, were not finding success on both ends of the floor. They were not making their open looks today and had a hard time containing the NTU offense. While Lester Ng (NUS #6) provided an offensive spark with 14 points to lead NUS, it was not enough to overcome Russel’s (NTU #32) dominance.
Without an answer for Russel (NTU #32), NTU eventually took the game 80-49 to successfully defended their title.
Captain Sean (NTU #30) commented, “I’m proud of my boys for coming together tonight to achieve this win as a team, with everyone contributing and playing a part. I hope that we can keep up this momentum after we come back from our exams and prepare for our Institute-Varsity-Polytechnic (IVP) Basketball Championship campaign.”
While NUS finished their SUniG season as first runners-up, they qualified for a spot in the upcoming IVP.
Captain Leong Kai Yuan (NUS #15) commented, “I think it has been a pretty exciting season, I would say, for us. At the start, we were still finding our momentum as a team. So over time, after the two losses to NTU and upset by SMU, we gathered back our momentum and improved on our next two games against SIT and SIM.
“However, in today’s game, it just showed that we are still not mentally strong as a team. When we play from behind, we are still not as strong. From now till IVP, we can work on our fundamentals as a team as well as being mentally stronger so that we can catch up should we be behind. It has been a good run considering we got second in SUniG and we look forward to get the championship in IVP.”
Scoring by Quarters
NTU vs NUS
1st Q: 21-10
2nd Q: 22-16 (43-26)
3rd Q: 20-10 (63-36)
4th Q: 17-13 (80-49)
Loh Zhenqiang Russel (#32) – 31 pts
Lester Ng Jia Wei (#6) – 14 pts
Chan Wai Hon (#10) – 8 pts
Tok Jian Sheng (#0), Jabez Su Ming Rong (#3), Chia Zao Liang Lyon (#4), Chun Wang Xun (#6), Kan Wei Huat (#8), Wong Liang Hao Brian (#9), Ronald Yip Lang Jing (#11), Chia Wen Han (#12), Tan Zhi Sen (#14), Seah Chin Seng (#24), Lim Yong Cheng, Justin (#25), Liau Ming Shun (#27), Hoo Kang, Sean (#30), Loh Zhenqiang Russel (#32), Tan Bo Yao (#33)
Johrathon Cheok (#2), Ng Yao Zhong (#3), Devin Nathanael (#4), Han Jun Seo (#5), Lester Ng Jia Wei (#6), Zhou Kai (#7), Auston Quek Xin Wei (#9), Chan Wai Hon (#10), Ong Sze Chuan (#11), Loo Jian Wei, Raymond (#13), Leong Kai Yuan (#15), Ashley Ng Ming Xiang (#20), Lim Dao Han (#24), Dillon Low Chun Kiat (#27), Wong Songkai Gideon (#30)
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