Strong finish boosts Malaysian cagers in 3x3 league

PETALING JAYA: Finishing second in the third stop of the Fiba 3x3 Under-23 Nations League has fuelled the fire in cager Lai Kok Weng (pic) to perform better.

The Malaysian team, comprising Kok Weng, Leong Zhen Kang, Chong Zhen Yang and Ooi Xian Fu, settled for second place after going down 14-21 to Japan in Shandong, China, on Sunday.

Mongolia finished third with one win and one defeat.

Committing too many fouls and small mistakes put paid to their hopes of emerging as the champions, but debutant Kok Weng stayed positive.

“I’m competing in this tournament for the first time, so finishing second is good,” said the 21-year-old Kok Weng.

“We had too many fouls in the beginning of the final match and it affected our game. Our game was also strewn with small mistakes which led to our defeat.

“However, our result in this stop can be considered as quite good.”

Earlier, they had hit the ground running by defeating Mongolia 20-18 before beating hosts China 21-19 to top Pool A and set up a meeting with Japan in the final.

“Every team member fought really hard,” said Kok Weng.

“We were trailing in the opening match but we managed to claw our way back to win.

“We were at a disadvantage against China because they were bigger in size but we defended well and played aggressively to win narrowly, by two points.”

Kok Weng aims to go one step better in the fourth stop of the six-team battle in Shandong, China, starting today.

“We want to reach the final and win the title for the first time in this league.”

The result in the third stop is Malaysia’s best achievement in the league so far after finishing fifth in the first stop and last in the second.

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