PETALING JAYA: National men’s basketball coach Goh Cheng Huat believes he finally has a team to battle for a medal at the Kuala Lumpur SEA Games from Aug 19-30.
The return of the Westports Malaysia Dragons trio – Loh Shee Fai, Ivan Yeo and Ma Chee Kheun – from injuries has reinforced Cheng Huat’s confidence of a good show.
Swingman Shee Fai, forward Ivan and guard Chee Kheun suffered injuries towards the end of the Asean Basketball League (ABL) season in March and subsequently missed the South-East Asian Basketball Association (SEABA) Championship in May and Maba International Basketball Invitation Championships last month.
The trio only reported for training last week and were promptly included in the team for the playing tour of New Zealand from July 18-30.
The other members of the 12-man squad are Teo Kok Hou, Wong Yi Hou, Ting Chun Hong, Kuek Tian Yuan, Chee Li Wei, Wong Chin Yong, Chan Kek Thai, Soo Eng Heng and American-born Perry Lim.
“Shee Fai, Ivan and Chee Kheun really worked their socks off to regain their spots in the team,” said Cheng Huat.
“It’s good to have them back. I’ve a lot of young players so I need some veterans who know how to keep a cool head during crucial moments.
“Now I have a ‘real’ team at my disposal and I hope they keep that fire going,” he added.
In New Zealand, Malaysia will play six matches against club sides in Auckland, Whanganui, Hawera, New Plymouth and Tauranga.
The tour is the team’s final build-up for the Games. Malaysia are in Group A with defending champions the Philippines, Thailand and Myanmar.