KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysian Basketball Association (Maba) have set a two-gold target for the Myanmar SEA Games and men’s team captain Gan Hong Hoong accepts the challenge.
This is despite Malaysia not having won the gold medal in the men’s event since 1989 and finishing without a medal in the 2011 Games.
“Maba have given us a target and it’s only logical to aim for the gold. Nobody wants to finish second anyway,” said Hong Hoong.
“We have also been preparing hard for nearly a year and are mentally and physically ready to step up to the challenge.
“I have to admit that Thailand, Singapore and Indonesia will provide a massive challenge while the Philippines are clearly the favourites.”
The Filipinos won every edition of the SEA Games since 1977 until Malaysia claimed the unexpected gold in 1989.
Hong Hoong, who will be making his SEA Games debut, believes that the men’s team had a good balance of experienced and young players.
“This is my first SEA Games and I’m a little nervous at being captain. But I’ve had some experience from the Fiba Asia Championship back in August when coach Paul (Advincula) also made me the captain,” said the 23-year-old Hong Hoong.
“There are so many players in the team who have experienced competing in the SEA Games, so I can look to them for advice and assistance.
“It’s great that we are going to Myanmar with so many old hands because their experience will come in handy.”
Among the old faces are 30-year-old Koh Way Tek, who made his debut at the 2001 Games in Kuala Lumpur, Ooi Ban Sin and Soo Eng Heng. The likes of Westports Malaysia Dragons trio – Loh Shee Fai, Kuek Tian Yuan and Kwaan Yoong Jing – also have loads of experience competing in international tournaments.
The women’s team will also boast several experienced cagers like Kew Suik May, Goh Beng Fong, Hee Shook Ying, Ang Siew Teng and Yong Shi Min. The women will be seeking their 14th gold at the Games and redeem themselves after a disappointing 2011 Games, in which they only managed a bronze.
Both the men’s and women’s teams will leave for Naypyitaw tomorrow.
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