KUALA LUMPUR: The Malaysia Basketball Association (Maba) have a new president and new coach. And, with that, a new direction.
The changes, which came into effect at the Maba annual general meeting (AGM) on April 30, came following several disastrous performances by the national men’s team.
The men’s team returned empty-handed from the Singapore SEA Games last June and also finished 16th – and last – at the Asia Basketball Championships last September.
At the AGM, Datuk Seri Tiong King Sing was replaced as the president by Datuk Lua Choon Hann.
And Choon Hann, who is also the Kelantan Basketball Association (KBA) president, swiftly replaced Filipino Paul Advincula with Goh Cheng Huat as the national head coach.
The 61-year-old Cheng Huat, who is well-respected among the basketball community, has been tasked with preparing the men’s team for the KL SEA Games next year.
It will be his second stint as national team coach. He previously took charge from 2009-2011.
“Cheng Huat has had a stellar record with Perak and Malacca ... we believe he is the right person to lead the national team,” said Choon Hann after the exco meeting on Saturday.
“We aim to develop a system where a local coach will be assisted by a foreign coach.
“Paul will be re-designated as development coach because we feel that’s what he’s best suited for.”
Choon Hann also announced that Maba and the Westports Malaysia Dragons would work closely to build a team for the SEA Games.
Asean Basketball League (ABL) champions Dragons’ owner Ruben Gnanalingam has been appointed to the Maba board as a vice-president.
“I had a meeting with Ruben earlier and we’ve agreed to work closely. The Dragons will also sponsor 12 players from the senior national team until the SEA Games and will also take charge of renovating the Maba Stadium,” said Choon Hann, who also announced that Malaysia will host the SEABA Women’s Championship in September.
Six teams – Malaysia, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Laos and Indonesia – are expected to take part.