Tuesday, September 27

Miri Firehorse set for a gallop

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BUILD-UP: The Miri Firehorse team building up to the National League with a friendly against Riam Road Secondary School.

Team all set for National Basketball League

MIRI: Despite some setbacks, the Miri Firehorse team is going into the National Basketball League (NBL), starting in Kuala Lumpur tomorrow, with a steely “losing is not an option” motto.

“We need 12 points from the three circuits to enter the finals – so a positive approach is important.

“We are confident of doing well,” said Firehorse Philippino coach Nomar Angeles Isla.

The team is having a few problems like not being able to get the players to practise together and some of their players still nursing injuries.

Firehorse Australian import Mark Musgrave is expected to debut only from the second circuit onwards while Sibu duo Lau Bik Ing and Francis Loh Hoo Won will skip the second circuit due to work commitments.

The team had their last coaching session yesterday afternoon at Riam Road Secondary School– minus star player Michael Nathaniel Pilgrim who hurt his left eyebrow in their recent 132-56 win over Pei Min Middle School during a friendly match.

Michael has to be rested for the opening NBL match against top-ranked Kuala Lumpur Dragon.

“KL Dragon are the favourites because they have all the national players who train regularly together – plus two imports, so we need our strongest line-up against them,” added Nomar who has included Anthony Gene Johnson of Chicago, and veteran players like Chai Chee Hian of Kuching and Voon Yiew Ting of Miri in the first lineup.

“I wish there were more time to train together — we only had 10 days so far,” he said.

“But smart players adapt quickly and they are all mature, not amateurs anymore, so I expect them to gel during games. If there’s any strategy, it’s strong in defence.”

Voon (Yiew Ting) said most of the local players had played with one another before, so it should not be a problem, adding that it was most important they were mentally strong.

The team plan to have one last training session before leaving for KL tomorrow at 4pm.

They are also arranging for a morning training session before meeting KL Dragon in the evening for the curtain raiser.

Meanwhile, Riam Road Secondary School chief executive officer Datuk Dr Fong Onn Min was pleased with the clinic which provided useful training for the school basketball team preparation to play in Sabah next month.

Also present was RRSS principal Wee Kiew Nguk.