Royal Bees notch first win against the Philippines

Caption: The national netball team in a group photo with HRH Prince Hj Sufri Bolkiah (8th L), the President of the Brunei Darussalam National Olympic Council (BDNOC), after their match against the Philippines. Also pictured are HRH Princess Fadzilah Lubabul Bolkiah (C) and YAM Pg Muda 'Abdul 'Aleem (8th R). Picture: Courtesy of Zam Hanafi

Yee Chun Leong

THE national netball team took a huge step towards making the semi-finals at the 29th SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur after dispatching the Philippines 69-32 earlier today.

Brunei came out strongly and were stringing good passes together to score at the Juara Stadium in Bukit Kiara.

They soon opened up a double digit lead to carry a 16-5 lead into the second quarter.

The Philippines were not helped by their turnovers and were held scoreless for over six minutes in the second frame.

Brunei continued working and extended their advantage to 29-9 with four minutes left in the second quarter.

Goal shooter Nur Hafizah Hj Abdul Sidek came on in the second half to put on a shooting clinic and helped the Sultanate build up a 30-point lead at 48-18 with four minutes left in the third period enroute to their first victory in three games of the five-team competition.

National netball coach Thilaka Jinadasa was delighted with the showing of her charges.

“I’m really satisfied because this comes after two tough games. It’s good to see that the girls still gave their best in this game,” said Jinadasa in an interview with BruSports News when contacted after the triumph.

“Especially at the last SEA Games, we won 56-32 and this time we managed to score 69 points,” she added.

Hafizah was left on the bench in the first half before substituted on after halftime where she caught fire.

When asked on the performance of her goal shooter, the Sri Lankan replied: “She is a very valuable shooter for the Brunei side since she plays very tactfully and with her shooting accuracy.

“It's just sometimes she has to control her movement and work with GA (Goal Attack) strongly. The reason she was a substitute only to come on in the second half is because I have to keep my options ready if anything happens on court for next two days.

“It’s important other shooters also to go on the court to keep the team spirit high,” explained Jinadasa.

Brunei will close out the preliminary round against Thailand tomorrow (live on Astro Arena channels 799/804 at 5.05pm).

Jinadasa hopes that they can complete the round on a winning note.

“Win or lose against Thailand, we have a chance of going to the semi-finals,” said Jinadasa.

“But winning is important since it will give us a morale booster for the semis,” she concluded.

Goal Shooter Hafizah puts up shooting clinic in second half

Nur Hafizah Hj Abdul Sidek during the match against the Philippines.

Hafizah only came off the bench at the start of the second half and eventually finished the game shooting 25-31 from the field.

Despite the strong numbers, she felt that she could have done better.

“I thought I did alright, but I wasn’t very satisfied with my shooting as I missed a couple of shots that I should have bagged because some were under the ring. Just a bit disappointed with that,” Hafizah told BruSports News.

“I was aiming for at least over 85% but of course I’m not going to beat myself up about it.

“There’s another important game tomorrow (Thursday). I’m quite happy that I did a couple of drive ins and that is one of our main objective as shooters since day one,” she added.

Hafizah, who is a returning member from the bronze medal winning side at the previous edition, also praised her teammates for the overall performance.

“The whole team did well, although there were a few unnecessary errors that we all did,” said the goal shooter.

“But we managed to overcome it and kept going strong. The teamwork and communication were visible and that was the key to winning the game,” she concluded

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