Story by Daniel Yeo/Red Sports. Photos by Lee Jian Wei/Red Sports.

Gary Yeo (#14) of Singapore Institute of Management shoots a layup against Republic Polytechnic. (Photo © Lee Jian Wei/Red Sports)

Gary Yeo (#14) of Singapore Institute of Management shoots a layup against Republic Polytechnic. (Photo 1 © Lee Jian Wei/Red Sports)

SIM Block D, Multi-Purpose Sports Hall, Wednesday, July 18, 2018 — Republic Polytechnic (RP) and Singapore Institute of Management (SIM) duked it out in the paint, but the former emerged victorious 69–63 in the final group game of the National Youth Sports Institute Basketball League.

Both teams end their season with a 3-2 win-loss record in their group. However, due to point difference, RP finishes ahead in second while SIM finishes in fourth.

RP were led by Zhen Yuhui (RP #8), who scored a team-high 18 points while hitting on three treys. As for SIM, Gary Yeo’s (SIM #14) strong transition game helped him net a game-high 21 points in their loss.

The first quarter would be a duel between these two leading scorers.

Using his physicality, Gary (SIM #14) made sure to get out in transition and take the ball to the hole while absorbing contact for some and-one plays, eventually scoring eight of SIM’s 23 in the quarter.

Despite SIM having taken an early lead, Yuhui (RP #8) responded for his team by scoring seven of their 20 in that same quarter.

The second quarter would not be as high-scoring, however, due to the work done on the defensive glass by both teams. Neither would allow the other to pull down an offensive rebound or get a second chance to score.

A stand-out performer in the quarter was Lavin (RP #24), as his size and height helped him pull down defensive board after defensive board.

At the end of the half, SIM led by six, the exclamation point a buzzer-beating deep three by Hiew Zi Jie (SIM #34). If RP wanted to get back into this game, their defence and half-court offense needed to be flawless.

And it was. RP’s zone defence and set plays propelled them to a 25–6 quarter, earning them a 56–43 lead by the end of the third.

Not to say SIM did not have their opportunities – (SIM #6) was operating as the point guard with the ball in his hands, going around screens and running the pick-and-roll with his dribble moves. But, the looks he created could not converted into baskets, thanks to a strong interior defence set up by RP.

This RP defence also extended to the perimeter, as some active and attentive hands led to a multitude of turnovers and fast-breaks, which in turn led to scores and some and-one plays.

But, into the fourth quarter, and RP changed up their defensive scheme to a tighter man-to-man strategy. Seeing this, SIM took advantage and stretched the floor in a five-out formation, hoping to lure Lavin (RP #24) out of the paint and make scoring inside easier for them.

In a double-digit deficit hole, Gary (SIM #14) would help dig his team out of it with another eight points in the quarter. Scoring four buckets straight, he would help keep SIM afloat and bring them to 51–65.

With 5:29 remaining in the game, and down by 14 points, SIM decided to turn it on and press RP full-court, to great effect. Turnover after turnover, SIM scored 12 straight points with their transition looks. And, with RP in the bonus, there was nothing they could do about it. SIM were even aggressively targeting Lavin in the hopes that they could make him foul out – his defensive presence was not helping their chances of a comeback.

Finally, Tng Zhi Cai (RP #37) found Mohamed Ismail (RP #11) on a nice feed inside to break their scoring drought and stop the bleeding. Unfortunately, SIM missed on their chances to tie the game, and RP escaped with a 69–63 win as the clock ran down to triple zero.

RP Vice-Captain, Zhi Yun (RP #10), talked about their slow start on the day: “We were very scared because SIM is a university, they are quite good – I think they got second in IVP and they had a tough game against NTU (Nanyang Technological University). So, we managed to pull through and tell ourselves that we should not give up easily, and we played our best in the game, and we managed to pull through.”

On the other hand, SIM Captain Scott (SIM #21) was just glad that everyone in the team was able to spend some time on the hardwood as their season drew to a close: “Our mentality coming in was to give everyone a good chance to play, especially those that usually don’t get to play…it was nice that everyone got a chance to get game experience. RP is a very good squad, they have some very talented players, so it was a good opportunity to build team cohesiveness and chemistry.”

Both Captains also shared on the experience in the NYSI League, and how it has benefited their teams, with Zhi Yun saying: “I think that this NYSI (League) is very good, it’s a good platform for us to train for POL-ITE especially, and I think it’s a good experience. So, we must not give up, and we look forward to our POL-ITE games.”

Scott added: “The NYSI (League) is good, it gives us a preseason platform to see where our team stands amongst the other schools. It’s a very good initiative because it allows us to test players who might not necessarily get to play in SUniG and IVP because they’re not as experienced, they’re not as ‘talented’ – for lack of a better word. I mean, we have to thank NYSI for organising, because a lot of us had fun, all of us think it’s a very good competition, and we’re quite happy.”

Scoring by Quarter

1st Q: 23–20
2nd Q: 14–11 (37–31)
3rd Q: 6–25 (43–56)
4th Q: 20–13 (63–69)

Leading Scorers

Gary Yeo (#14) – 21 points

Zhen Yuhui (#8) – 18 points, 3 3PM

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

RP Roster
Derek Chew Boon Kiat (#0), Eddy Chew Jun Wei (#1), Kerk Xuan Xian (#2), Bryan Wee Zi Yuan (#3), Prem Haran S/O B H Rajan (#5), Ng Zhi Hao (#6), Chew Hong Xiang (#7), Zhen Yuhui (#8), Tan Cheng Shan (#9), Seet Zhi Yun (#10), Mohamed Ismail (#11), Goh Jun Yung (#12), Abdul Rahman B Ali (#13), Fong Hao Seng (#15), Ang Chu Chock (#17), Jun Wen (#23), V Lavin Raj (#24), Desmond Loh Wai Kin (#32), Goh Jun Xian (#34), Tng Zhi Cai (#37), Alan Kwan Yi Hui

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