Story by Dylan Chua/Red Sports. Photos by Chan Hua Zheng/Red Sports.
Choa Chu Kang Sports Hall, Friday, April 6, 2018 — Presbyterian High School (PHS) grabbed a wire-to-wire 65–42 victory over West Zone champions Unity Secondary (US) in the National B Division Basketball Championship semi-finals to set up an intriguing final showdown with two-time defending champions North Vista Secondary.
Presbyterian High will play in the national championship game for the first time since 2009, when the team, which included national cager Russel Low, defeated New Town Secondary 54–45 to win the national title.
Presbyterian High had conquered Unity 54–40 just 11 days ago in a first-round match-up when the North Zone runners-up overcame a shaky start to claim the win and top spot in the group.
Foo Yong Ming (PHS #12), who had nine points in their latest victory, felt that the overall performance of the team was much better this time.
“We started off sloppily but improved gradually, it was definitely a better performance compared to the one we put up against them in the first round,” shared Yong Ming (PHS #12).
Presbyterian High had six different players on the scoresheet for its first 11 points of the match and threatened to run away with the game early on when they built an 18–11 first quarter lead.
Jonathan Ng (US #35), who finished with a team-high 15 points in the game, had other ideas.
The Unity forward scored 13 of Unity first 19 points, capping it off with a fast break lay-up to cut the deficit to 19–23 midway through the second period.
Tang Kah Wai (PHS #10), who bagged game-high honours once again with 21 points, responded in kind and scored eight straight points as part of a 13–2 run to close the quarter, giving Presbyterian High a 15-point halftime lead.
Unity reduced the deficit to 31–42 through a three-pointer from Raymus (US #4) at the 5:24 mark of the third period. Yet, that was the closest they got as five quick points from Yong Ming (PHS #12) blew the lead back up to 16.
Both teams gave playing time to their less experienced players in the fourth quarter as the result was beyond much doubt by that point, and Presbyterian High ran out with a 23-point triumph at the final buzzer.
Looking ahead to the final against North Vista, Aaron Chaw (PHS #26) said: “We want to play aggressive defence and hope that our centers have a good offensive showing. Most importantly, we have to hustle for every ball.”
The long-time North Zone rivals share an identical 7–0 win-loss record in the nationals and are both 17–1 on the season heading into the national title game.
Unsurprisingly, both schools’ only defeat this year came against each other in games that were decided by four points or less. Presbyterian High edged out North Vista in a North Zone second-round clash, only to come up short in a rematch in the North Zone final to relinquish their zonal crown.
With silverware and bragging rights on the line, every minute detail in the final will be crucial in defining the outcome of the match and the season of both teams.
Presbyterian High and North Vista are set for one final battle this season on the grandest stage of all.
The national championship game will tip-off at 2.45pm, on April 12, at the OCBC Arena.
Scoring by Quarter
Presbyterian High vs Unity
1st Q: 18–11
2nd Q: 18–10 (36–21)
3rd Q: 15–12 (51–33)
4th Q: 14–9 (65–42)
Tang Kah Wai (#10) – 21 points
Constantin Lim (#3) – 13 points
Kovan Toh (#5) – 10 points
Jonathan Ng (#35) – 15 points
Presbyterian High Roster
Constantin Lim (#3), Ivan Kau (#4), Kovan Toh (#5), Thomas Lor (#7), Tang Kah Wai (#10), Foo Yong Ming (#12), Goh Yi Xiang (#13), Jaron Ng (#15), Dylan Lee (#20), Gifford Chua (#21), Aaron Chaw (#26), Reuben Ng (#35)
Melvin Chua Dong En (#1), Ryan Hoa Wai Ming (#2), Jarric Quek Jun Ying (#3), Raymus (#4), Nicholas Peh Chi Leong (#7), Spencer (#8), Li Ming (#9), Jude Emmanuel Viray Pabustan (#11), Neo Tock Peng (#12), Nurhairie Nazief (#15), Clarence (#20), Jonathan Ng Zi Bin (#35)
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