After helping Malaysia secure a semi-final spot in the Axiata Cup on Wednesday night, he arrived at the Kuala Lumpur International Airport in Sepang at noon on Thursday.
Barely three hours later, he was at the Sports Arena Sentosa in Old Klang Road to play for Puchong United BC in the Kopiko Purple League.
Despite feeling drained, the 27-year-old Daren made sure his league debut got off to a winning start when he beat youngster Bong Guang Yik of Kajang BC 11-5, 11-7, 11-9 in the second men’s singles action.
“It was really taxing, I was quite tired before the game,” said Daren.
“I was told that we didn’t have enough players ... so, I had no choice but to play.
“Guang Yik is a tough kid. He’s currently training under Hendrawan (with the national set-up on probation). I’m glad to have beaten him in straight games.”
The three games contributed by Daren helped Puchong United demolish Kajang BC by 18 games to five and storm to the top of league standings with 31 points – four ahead of second-placed Muar City BC (27pts) – after three ties.
Daren also warned their league rivals that “our best is yet to come”.
“We’re shaping up nicely and things are looking promising. Our goal is obviously to become champions of the inaugural season,” he said.
“But I expect the title race to turn into a very exciting affair as the season progresses. Some clubs haven’t had their full-strength squads available yet, especially their marque signings.”
Besides securing the services of national players like Daren, Woon Khe Wei, Lai Pei Jing and Tan Aik Quan, Puchong United have also beefed up their squad with several top signings from Indonesia, including world No. 5 Tommy Sugiarto and 2008 Beijing Olympic gold medallist Markis Kido.
Did you find this article insightful?