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

Hiew Zi Jie (SIM #37) elevates for a finger-roll lay-up in transition. He scored a game-high 16 points in the loss. (Photo  © Chan Hua Zheng/Red Sports)

Hiew Zi Jie (SIM #37) elevates for a finger-roll lay-up in transition. He scored a game-high 16 points in the loss. (Photo 1 © Chan Hua Zheng/Red Sports)

Ngee Ann Polytechnic, Monday, June 18, 2018 — A composed Ngee Ann Polytechnic (NP) used a third-quarter surge to take a 53–49 victory against Singapore Institute of Management (SIM) in the National Youth Sports Institute Basketball League.

NP are now 1-1 in the win-loss columns, having lost to Temasek Polytechnic in their opener. As for SIM, this would be their season opener, and they drop to 0-1.

For NP, Tan Yong Lun (NP #13) put the ball in the bucket to lead the team with 14 points. Hiew Zi Jie (SIM #37) would put up a game-high 16 points in the loss for SIM, while teammate Loh You Ren (SIM #5) added 12.

Both teams were not taking care of the basketball in the game’s opening minutes, and this led to plenty of careless passing and turnovers. With that said, SIM managed to slowly and steadily build up a nine-point lead by quarter’s end, highlighted by a sick full-court touchdown pass to a streaking Loh You Ren (SIM #5) for the buzzer-beating layup.

It looked like NP were finding it hard to cope with SIM’s physicality, as the older players bullied them in the paint for the majority of the first quarter.

SIM kept it up in the next frame, pushing the pace with some full-court passing in the hopes of generating fast-break opportunities. Thankfully, NP managed to limit their scoring, making sure SIM did not run away with the game just yet. The half ended with them down eight at 19–11.

NP would be looking to reset at the half, and they did. Coming into the second, they went on an eight-point scoring run in the first four minutes of the third quarter, tying the game up at 19-apiece.

SIM could not make a shot to save their lives, and down three at quarter’s end, a frustrated Hiew Zi Jie (SIM #37) and Sia Wei Hng (NP #8) heatedly exchanged words chest-to-chest.

NP did not seem to be slowing down as they went into the fourth quarter, with Wu Ming Ming (NP #21) sizing up his defender, crossing over, and draining the team’s only trey in an impressive sequence.

Not to be outdone, a pumped-up Hiew Zi Jie (SIM #37) willed his team back into the game with two consecutive and-one layups on fast-breaks, bringing them within three points with four minutes left on the clock.

However, NP would go on to make a slew of free throws and extend their lead. In total, they would make a stunning 26 shots from the charity stripe – near half of their 53 points scored.

That would be a testament to SIM’s physicality, and although they may not have managed their foul problems well, they were able to get stops when they needed them.

With a minute remaining, down by seven, SIM needed to get a stop – and they did. Their suffocating full-court press forced a backcourt violation, and three quick scores put NP under pressure as they clung onto their slim two-point lead.

The shot clock, however, had since been turned off, and with SIM intentionally fouling, Lim Jun Jie (NP #15) stepped up to the line and iced the game with two free throws. The result: a fortuitous 53–49 win for NP.

Captain Bryan (NP #37) knows that the team was lucky to come out with a win in those closing minutes: “My team really fought hard from the third quarter onwards. But, in the last few minutes, we kind-of lost.”

But, despite that, the team was able to learn from the game, Bryan adding: “For some of my players, it was the first time playing against university players, much older than us. It will be a very good experience for us in the future.”

As for SIM, Captain Scott understands what must change for his team: “I think SIM, we’ve always had a culture of playing very relaxed in the first half, then in the second half, when we realise ‘We might not win this,’ then we kick it up to the next gear. Normally, it worked for us, just today, it didn’t, I think it’s a bad habit that we have to fix.”

In their next games, SIM will host Nanyang Technological University on June 20, while NP hosts Singapore Management University on June 25. Both games will tip-off at 8:45pm.

Scoring by Quarter

1st Q: 4–13
2nd Q: 7–6 (11–19)
3rd Q: 16–5 (27–24)
4th Q: 26–25 (53–49)

Leading Scorers

Tan Yong Lun (#13) – 14 points

Hiew Zi Jie (#37) – 16 points
Loh You Ren (#5) – 12 points

NP Roster
Daren Koay (#0), John Ang (#1), Chan Yao Yi (#2), Foo Fong Kee (#3), Victor Chua (#5), Saysay Erwin Pili (#6), Alagu Sundaram (#7), Sia Wei Hng (#8), Tan Guo Liang (#9), Tiah Min Feng Sean (#10), Tan Yong Lun (#13), Toshiro Kristen Murakami (#14), Lim Jun Jie (#15), Hsu Yao (#17), Lim Rui Min (#19), Wu Ming Ming (#21), Jon Emmanuel Abaniel (#24), Desmond Gan (#25), Lim Wang Shen (#29), Choo Jing Xian (#37)

SIM Roster
Abdul Shameer Rauf, Tan Baiyong, Yap Bao Cheng, Chong Chee Keong Bryan, Bryan Gregory Kor Chong Yang, Lee Derek Shen Kwong, Gary Yeo Jun Yuan, Teo Hao Yi, Lau Ka Shing, Ng Kian Hao, Wang Liang Rong, Scott James Driscoll, Sherman Lim Jian Hao, Ng Yong Jian, Loh You Ren, Tan Yuan Bin, Hiew Zi Jie

More photos next page