Coach to cagers: Stop being kampung heroes

PETALING JAYA: Basketball head coach Goh Cheng Huat said it is time Malaysian cagers change their mentality after the dismal outing at the SEA Games.

The men finished fifth out of nine countries at the recently concluded biennial Games.

The team started well by beating Myanmar 95-42 but were outclassed 75-90 by Thailand and whipped 66-98 by champions the Philippines.

In the fifth-place playoff, Malaysia defeated Vietnam 93-64.

Cheng Huat believes the players have a lot of ground to cover to challenge their Asean neighbours.

“I’m pleased with their efforts but they have to learn from this fifth-place finish,” said Cheng Huat.

“Against the Philippines, we were only able to contain them for one quarter. Offensively we couldn’t convert as well.

“Maybe the truth hurts but many of the players don’t have the determination or drive to take on bigger teams. They can’t even bring the ball past half court.

“Many of them are satisfied at being ‘kampung’ heroes.

“They enjoy playing in local tournaments where they can stand out.

“All that has to change if we want to challenge the top teams. The players must start proving themselves against the best teams, the best players and not be satisfied with their current level.”

Cheng Huat, who is also an assistant coach with the Westports Malaysia Dragons in the Asean Basketball League (ABL), believes the Dragons should be the perfect platform for them to achieve that.

“It’s just my opinion but perhaps the Dragons should just go with two imports and put three locals on the floor. It’s an opportunity to expose them to a higher level of basketball,” added Cheng Huat.

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