KUCHING: Kuching staved off a spirited challenge from Bintulu to win 72-55 in the semi-finals of the Youth Boys competition of the Liew Kuet Kiong Cup 43rd Sarawak Open and 19th Youth (Under 16) Basketball Championship at MBKS Indoor Stadium at pending here yesterday.
They will now battle Sibu in today’s final after the latter thumped Samarahan 73-51 in the other semi-final.
It was a touch-and-go affair in the game between Kuching and Bintulu and the host team could only enjoy a two-point lead at end of the first quarter at 16-14.
Bintulu then tightened up their defence to hold Kuching 29-29 at half-time.
Kuching, led by national youth cager Byran Sim Yik Way, stepped up the pace in the third quarter to lead by 10 points (52-42) and with better passing and shooting skills, they destroyed Bintulu for a 17-point victory.
Alvin Lau top scored for Kuching with 15 points while a closely marked Bryan Sim contributed 10 points, Fan Chee Hui had 12 points and Chang Yu Yii 11 points.
Bintulu’s top scorer was Kelvin Lau with 14 points.
It was a different scenario in the other semi-final where a more organised and solid Sibu team had little problem to lead Samarahan 23-14 in the first quarter, 40-24 in the second quarter and 58-40 in third quarter.
Earlier, in the play-off for fourth and fifth placings, Miri beat Sarikei 89-80.
Today’s other finals will see Kuching A taking on Kuching B in the Women’s Open final, while Kuching is expected to meet Sibu in the Men’s Open final.
The host team has six points from three wins in the five-team contest based on league format and they should have no problem in overcoming Samarahan in their final league match later yesterday while Sibu is also expected to beat Miri in the other league match.