Tutong Basketball Team in a group photo. – FADHIL YUNUS
BY Fadhil Yunus
TUTONG survived an onslaught of an offensive-minded Brunei-Muara ‘A’ to become inaugural champions of the 5.11 National Basketball League after a 80-75 victory in a thrilling final at the Brunei Basketball Association Court last night.
Brunei-Muara ‘A’ faced a ten-point deficit in the second half of the contest but they rallied back to close the lead and trailed by a single point at least a minimum of three times.
Tutong strengthened their grip at the start of the third quarter as captain Khoo Chin Kai dropped a three-point bomb.
However, Ng Lit How made some ground with two-pointer and his side reduced the gap to nine points.
Brunei-Muara ‘A’ captain Termizi was an instrumental figure in trimming his side’s deficit to six points, running from the side of the court before smoothly finishing his move.
Termizi also provided a pocket pass mid-air to his teammate Lit and earned a free throw as his side looked to use this period of staging a comeback.
Suddenly, the team chasing for the points found a way past the Tutong defence as Chen Wee Nien slipped a pass to Fang Bo Yuan who easily converted to provide a ray of hope.
Tutong drew a foul as Brunei-Muara ‘A’ gained possession and the points scored from the resulting free throw ensured the latter was in good shape of overhauling the lead in the fourth quarter.
Termizi started where they last left as they went even closer with a point down. Gideon Fong was closed down by the Tutong backline and defence turned into attack as On Chee Khong widened his side’s lead.
Brunei-Muara reduced the deficit by a single point two more times through Termizi but Tutong would not allow them to hop over them through points.
On Chee Khong hit a three pointer to increase the lead by five points as they looked to close down the match.
A pass that went astray proved to be the final straw for Brunei-Muara ‘A’ who had displayed courage, perseverance and effort in toppling their opponent since falling behind by double digits.
A perfect free throw also left Brunei-Muara ‘A’ needing a successful visit three times with 53 seconds of the clock remaining.
The Tutong team received the biggest roar of the night when On Chee Khong converted a brilliant two-pointer, with the crowd also chanting most valuable player to the in-form player.
With Brunei-Muara ‘A’s situation remaining the same with 23 seconds of the time remaining, Tutong closed in the title.
Meanwhile, Kuala Belait finished in third place after beating Brunei-Muara ‘B’ 64-45. In the women’s final, Brunei-Muara defeated Tutong 51-42.
-- Courtesy of Bonroe Bulletin