Story by REDintern Daniel Yeo. Photos by Chan Hua Zheng/Red Sports.

Justen Chiam (NV #11) rises for a lay-up en route to a 14-point outing. (Photo © Chan Hua Zheng/Red Sports)

Justen Chiam (NV #11) rises for a lay-up en route to a 14-point outing. (Photo 1 © Chan Hua Zheng/Red Sports)

OCBC Arena, Thursday, March 29, 2018 — In a rematch of this year’s North Zone semi-final, North Vista (NV) repeated their success against Christ Church (CHR) for their first quarterfinal win of the National B Division Basketball Championship with a 56–39 scoreline.

North Vista, with the win, stands at a 1-0 win-loss record in their grouping, while Christ Church drops to 0-1.

North Vista were led by Justen Chiam (NV #11), who scored a game-high 14 points in the win, while Sim Yi (NV #5) chipped in 11 points. As for Christ Church, Pan Ming Hui (CHR #34) and Brendon Koh (CHR #35) both scored a team-high 11 points in the loss.

When asked about their attitude coming into this rematch, North Vista’s Justen Chiam (NV #11) told us this: “We’ve beaten them once (in the North Zone semi-final), but it doesn’t mean that we’ll beat them another time.” Damien Yau (NV #25) and Sim Yi (NV #5) added: “We have to have the same mindset that we have for every game and play our best.”

North Vista set the tone right after the tip, with Chan Qi Feng (NV #3) making an early steal for a fast-break layup. That fast-break would be only the first of many in the first quarter.

Brendon Koh (CHR #35) opened Christ Church’s scoring off a fast-break assist from Pan Ming Hui (CHR #34). Reuben David F Amado (NV #30) scored for North Vista with a fancy euro-step layup on the fast-break. Justen (NV #11) looked to his teammate on the fast-break, froze his defender, and scored an easy two.

As the first 10 minutes of basketball neared its conclusion, despite 13–9 flashing on the scoreboard, one could tell that North Vista was in control. Their aggressive full-court press was causing steals and fast-break opportunities from the Christ Church offence, and their fast-paced game-play meant that they were going right back at Christ Church, even if Christ Church managed to score.

Christ Church captain Rico Liu (CHR #23) shared how the boys approached their rematch with North Vista: “The mindset coming into this game was not to panic, but to take it easy and take it slow. We knew that they (North Vista) were fast, and that we weren’t as fast as them. Our technique was to play at our pace instead of trying to keep up with theirs.”

The second quarter started off with some uncharacteristic rebounding from Christ Church. Throughout the Nationals, they have been known as one of the biggest teams, their team composed of tall and lengthy players. Be that as it may, in this quarter, they were unable to stop North Vista from pulling down a host of offensive rebounds.

Despite this, Christ Church managed to keep it close, using their set plays to make it a one-possession game. However, Justen (NV #11) made sure they did not surrender their lead, knocking down a pull-up trey. The first half of basketball subsequently ended with North Vista holding on to a five-point lead at 24–19.

Reuben Amado (NV #30) came into the second half like a man on a mission, contributing on both ends of the floor. The score sheet reflected a mere seven points in the half, but his teammates benefited from his play in a variety of ways.

On defence, his active hands and hustle plays led to steals, which in turn, led to a multitude of fast-breaks and easy points. In the half-court set, he was knocking down corner threes, dishing assists, and collapsing the Christ Church defence with his penetration.

The third quarter saw Christ Church’s defence begin to break down, as their zoned defensive scheme could not contain North Vista’s crisp, quick, and smart passing.

North Vista’s defence, on the other hand, was wreaking havoc on the Christ Church offence: “They (North Vista) started bringing the double-teams, the triple-teams, and we couldn’t find the open man. We all had our heads down, dribbling the ball, worrying we’d lose the ball, and not passing it. That’s how we turned the ball over, and they capitalized on it.” Rico (CHR #23) explained.

Capitalize they did, the highlight of their 32–20 scoring run being a sick fake pass by Reuben Amado (NV #30) to lose his defender on the drive for the score. The score at the final buzzer: a resounding 56–39 win for the two-time defending champions.

More action from this closely contested second round of the National B Division Basketball Championship takes place on Monday, April 2 at OCBC Arena.

Scoring by Quarter
North Vista v Christ Church
1st Q: 13–9
2nd Q: 11–10 (24–19)
3rd Q: 20–5 (44–24)
4th Q: 12–15 (56–39)

Leading Scorers
North Vista

Justen Chiam (#11) – 14 points
Sim Yi Brenndon Ariffin (#5) – 11 points

Christ Church
Pan Ming Hui (#34) – 11 points
Koh Jun Hao Brendon (#35) – 11 points

North Vista Roster
Shayan Medhi Nejad (#2), Chan Qi Feng (#3), Vincent Gerard Embay Bancod (#4), Sim Yi Brenndon Ariffin (#5), Chace Ng Kai Le (#6), Amos Tai (#7), Dillon Ong Yan Kai (#9), Arnald Foo Wei Bin (#10), Justen Chiam (#11), Jayson Yanoria (#24), Damien Yau (#25), Reuben David F Amado (#30)

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)

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