Story by REDintern Daniel Yeo. Photos by Lee Jian Wei/Red Sports.
OCBC Arena, Thursday, March 22, 2018 — Dunman Secondary (DMN) was able to come back and take down Christ Church Secondary (CHR) 49–46 in a close contested matchup in the first round of the National B Division Basketball Championship.
With this win, Dunman now tops their group with a 2–0 win-loss record, while Christ Church jostles for a position in the top two with a 1–1 win-loss record.
Dunman was led by Liam Seth Israel (DMN #9), who scored a game-high 20 points while making five from distance. Christ Church was led by Pan Ming Hui (CHR #34) with 17.
From the starting buzzer, it was evident that Christ Church’s lineup was longer, taller, and bigger than the opposition. Christ Church knew that and immediately took advantage by barreling into the post for the game’s first points. Dunman, not to be outdone, snatched an offensive rebound not long after to put themselves on the scoreboard.
In the game’s first minutes, both teams were finding their own ways to put the ball into the basket. Christ Church scored two as Brendon Koh (CHR #35) finished on an and-one play. He missed on the free throw, but teammate Pan Ming Hui (CHR #34) cleaned up after him with two offensive rebounds and a bucket. Dunman scored three with Leroy Loh (DMN #8) draining it from behind the arc.
In the middle of the first quarter, Dunman began to collectively heat up as their players stepped up on both ends of the floor.
Moses Peh (DMN #11) gave them their first lead with 5:30 left in the first quarter with a contested pull-up jumper, and Liam (DMN #8) extended that lead with a trey to make it 10–8.
On the less glamorous end, all five of Dunman’s players on the floor raised their defensive intensity: boxing out, contesting shots and hustling for loose balls. Although Christ Church tried to combat this by feeding their big man, Yeo Yuan Jun (CHR #33), Dunman tripled him in the low post to force a bad shot. It seemed like there was nothing Christ Church could do, and by the end of the quarter, they were trailing 18–9.
The second quarter began with the same intensity from Dunman, Liam (DMN #8) once again setting the tone with a deep three. Ming Hui (CHR #34), attempting to jump-start the Christ Church offence, took matters into his own hands and snaked through the Dunman defence multiple times to score points and draw fouls.
This helped the Christ Church offence get going, and as the half neared its conclusion, Yuan Jun (CHR #33) was dominating in the painted area with offensive rebounds and and-one putbacks. Guo Zhi Wei (DMN #6) attempted to extend Dunman’s fast-closing lead with a double clutch pull-up jumper, but Jun Hao (#36) scored on a buzzer-beating and-one fadeaway, converting on the free throw to make it a one-point game at halftime.
Christ Church carried this momentum from the end of the first half into the second, with Ming Hui (CHR #34) opening their scoring in the third quarter with a contested layup. Throughout the quarter, although Dunman had their fair share of offensive rebounds, the stifling defense of Christ Church’s front-court prevented them from finishing. Their only point in the quarter came from Chua Jia Ming (DMN #7) as he converted on a free throw after six minutes of play. However, after scoring that point, Christ Church went on a quick 7-0 scoring run to extend their lead, the quarter ending 35–26 in their favor.
The opening minutes of the fourth quarter saw both teams exchange buckets. However, Dunman took advantage of Christ Church’s slowing offence to cut into the lead. Parulan Jespar (DMN #15), the team’s spark-plug off the bench, finished an and-one put-back to bring them within five points, and another trey from Liam (DMN #9) saw the deficit down to just two with 5:36 on the clock.
Christ Church needed to extend their lead desperately, and Lin Kai Yao (CHR #30) did exactly that after firing a long two to make it a two-possession game at 43–39.
On the next play, with less than three minutes left in the game, Leroy (DMN #8) made a costly turnover while stepping out of bounds as he caught a teammate’s pass. In frustration, he pounded the ball and was awarded a technical by an official. Dunman’s coach leapt off his seat, protested the call, and another technical was handed out. Christ Church elected Ming Hui (CHR #34) to shoot their free throws, and he knocked them down to keep them in the lead 45–41.
Christ Church’s captain, Rico Liu (CHR #23) shared how they felt after the officials awarded Dunman with those two technicals: “It definitely helped us build momentum, we definitely capitalized on those two free throws that Ming Hui put up, and got the momentum going. But towards the end, they had the better mentality.”
With the game on the line, Jespar (DMN #15) put the team on his back. Finding himself under the basket, he went up strong and drew a foul, converting both of his looks from the charity stripe to make it a two-point game with 2:30 left in the game. With him as the man in the middle, Dunman proceeded to put the clamps on Christ Church and force a turnover, shifting the momentum into Dunman’s hands for good.
After Christ Church’s timeout, Moses (DMN #11) proceeded to tie the game at 45-all with a push shot. On the next possession, Jespar’s (DMN #15) active hands forced a steal, creating an easy fast-break layup for Marquez Joseph Alcantara (DMN #4). This gave Dunman a lead they would not relinquish.
On the next possession, Dunman managed to draw an offensive foul from Christ Church, and with the shot clock turned off, it was only a matter of making free throws. Liam (DMN #9) stepped up to the line and made two to ice the game.
When asked about what made the difference down the stretch, Jespar (DMN #15) and John Ng (DMN #12) acknowledged: “Compared to the rest of the games we’ve had so far, today, we really felt that we were working together better and communicated more.”
Dunman also praised their competitors, Jespar (DMN #15) adding: “We have to credit the other team as well, they played a really good match, and it was a good game. It was fun.”
This game has, without doubt, helped both teams understand themselves better. Each team now knows what they need to do if they want to keep playing winning basketball.
Christ Church’s Rico (CHR #23): “We need to bring back a hungrier mentality, stay focused, be more hardworking and disciplined.”
Dunman’s John Ng (DMN #12): “We realised our potential this game, and played differently. We just have to play how we played today for the rest of our matches.”
Christ Church will face Guangyang Secondary next, while Dunman face Jurong Secondary.
Both matches will be held at OCBC Arena on March 26, with tip-off at 1.15pm.
Scoring by Quarter
Christ Church v Dunman Sec
1st Q: 9–18
2nd Q: 15–7 (24–25)
3rd Q: 11–1 (35–26)
4th Q: 11–23 (46–49)
Pan Ming Hui (#34) – 17 points
Liam Seth Israel (#9) – 20 points, 5 3PM
Christ Church Roster
Wong Yi Dian (#20), Soh Jing Wei Jason (#21), Gian Rafael Bernardo Palermo (#22), Rico Jann Iv Liu Jia Jun (#23), Gan Zi Kang Kenji (#24), Hsieh Yu Lin (#27), Yeo Jun Loong, Marcus (#28), Lin Kai Yao (#30), Robert Guile Fernandez Maranan (#31), Nyan Lin (#32), Yeo Yuan Jun (#33), Pan Ming Hui (#34), Koh Jun Hao Brendon (#35), Jun Hao (#36)
Marquez Joseph Alcantara (#4), Tiong Hoe Jian (#5), Guo Zhi Wei (#6), Chua Jia Ming (#7), Leroy Loh (#8), Liam Seth Israel (#9), Bryan Yong (#10), Moses Peh (#11), John Ng (#12), Dylan Tan (#13), Ethan Chan (#14), Parulan Jespar (#15)
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