KUALA LUMPUR: In what could be his last outing for the country at the SEA Games, national men’s basketball team captain Kuek Tian Yuan is hoping to end the men’s team’s 12-year medal drought.
The men’s team have failed to win a single medal in their last four outings at the biennial meet. Their last medal came in 2007 in Thailand when they brought back the bronze medal.
But the 28-year-old captain believes the team can bring back a medal this time around.
“I’ve gone to the SEA Games four times and we did not win a medal in any but the men’s team managed to get at least a medal before that. So it’s a bit of a disappointment for me, ” said Tian Yuan.
“However, this time around we have a new and younger squad compared to the previous years. Also, this team has been preparing for almost a year now.
“Everyone knows each other very well as we have been training and taking part in competitions together. So, it’s not only coach (Brian Lester) who is confident we can bring back a medal but the players, too.”
The men were impressive at the Maba Malaysia International Basketball Invitational at Maba Stadium here last month where they recorded a convincing 87-71 win over local professional side Kuala Lumpur Dragons who had three American imports.
They also fought hard with Taiwanese pro side Formosa Dreamers, who also had several imports, before losing 78-88 in overtime.
The only problem is that first-choice centre Mak Lok Seng, who was recently named captain, is out with a major knee injury during the invitational.
This means more responsibility for Tian Yuan, who replaced Lok Seng as captain, and his teammate Perry Lee.
“It’s sad for the team because he has been with us for the better part of the year and got injured just two months before the Games.
“He is also one of the biggest players in our team. Without him, we will lose some presence under the basket when it comes to rebounds and defending against the other teams’ naturalised players.”
But that’s not fazing Tian Yuan. “This could be my last SEA Games, so I will give everything I can to help bring back a medal.”
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