Yee Chun Leong
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
THE national netball team fell to a 51-39 defeat to Thailand at the 29th SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur earlier today.
Despite the defeat, Brunei are virtually through to the semi-finals as the Philippines were thrashed 91-22 by Singapore in the earlier game.
The Philippines will take on favourites Malaysia tomorrow but will require a miracle to overtake the Sultanate as they have a -176 goal difference from three matches.
Thailand came out the better of the two teams and managed to surge ahead to a seven-point lead early on at the Juara Stadium in Bukit Kiara.
Their tactics were simple as they were going with the lob pass to their towering goal shooter Paladathanan Thiratananitiworachot to score.
Brunei clawed their back to get to within three points to see Thailand stay ahead 15-12 going into the second period.
It was a physical affair and Thailand started out the second frame with a 4-0 run. Brunei needed almost four minutes to get on the scoresheet.
The Royal Bees were unable to get anything going allowing their opponents to open up a double digit lead allowing them to extend their advantage to 30-17 at halftime.
National netball coach Thilaka Jinadasa made a few changes to the lineup to start the second half and it worked out for them as they stepped it up at both ends of the court.
Thailand were unable to get things going offensively and were outscored 11-9 to see Brunei cut the deficit to 39-29 going into the final period.
The lead for the Thais was never threatened in the fourth quarter despite resting their goal shooter Paladathanan enroute to victory.
Jinadasa felt that they could have done better especially in the second quarter where they were outscored 15-5.
“It was good play but I’m not that satisfied knowing the way we played,” said Jinadasa in an interview with BruSports News after the loss.
“I still think that the girls could have done much better especially in second quarter because looking at the quarter scores (15-12, 15-5, 9-11, 12-11 ), I’m sure they could have finished better,” she added.
Goalkeeper Nur Syuhaidah Fahriyana Hj Sukri had plenty of work to do containing the much taller Paladathanan and was left in the game for the full 60 minutes.
The national coach praised her for her good work considering that she shifted from playing a shooter just months before the competition.
“Syu has played in all 4 games so far without breaks and all the games she has to go through the same playing style since all opposition goal shooters were taller than her,” said the Sri Lankan.
“But coming from playing in a shooting position within a short period of time, she really executed her tasks well for all these games. I’m really happy with her performance every game,” she added.
Nur Ady Elzza Ezrenna Sofian was a spark for the Royal Bees after coming on the second half for Nur Hafizah Hj Abdul Sidek.
When asked about the changes, Jinadasa replied: “Considering the goal difference and how crowded it got in our goal area, I thought a substitution was needed at that time.
“It came into effect and we managed to win third quarter with a new line up and Alai (Nur Ady) played well to control game,” she concluded.