Yee Chun Leong
KOH Wee Chian hit the game-winning free-throw to lift Street Roc to the GHK Trophy basketball Tournament title after a 53-52 win over Coco Cafe last night.
Having trailed the entire game, Street Roc finally tied things up at 42-42 with over six minutes to play after a trey by Koh.
Things stayed close as Street Roc missed a handful of free-throws. Four straight points by Tze Yun then put Coco Cafe ahead 50-48 with a minute to play at the Tutong Chung Hwa basketball court.
Koh made it 50-50 with 39 seconds to go after failing to complete a three-point play on another missed free-throw.
Coco Cafe then turned the ball over the next possession and sent Koh to the line where he made both charities with 12 seconds left.
Liew Kok Fui drained a quick long two-pointer at the other end. Koh then raced down the floor and was fouled with two seconds left.
He hit his first before missing the second but it was enough for Street Roc to clinch the title.
Koh, who played the full 40 minutes in the last three matches, made it a remarkable return to competitive basketball considering that this is his first tournament in over four years.
The 37-year-old, who is the oldest on his team, credited the rest of his teammates in getting the triumph.
“I knew I had to make it (free-throw) considering how crucial it was,” said Koh in an interview with BruSports News after the victory.
“We had a good game with a mixture of veterans and some young talent.
“All of them stepped up and defence was the key. We trailed in the past three games and it was our defence that led us back to win them,” added the Street Roc captain.
Koh and Tan Ye Wei finished with matching game-highs of 12 points to pace Street Roc. Ng Lit How also hit double figures with 10 points to his name in the win.
On the other hand, Kenny Lim was the only one in double figures for Coco Cafe with 10 points while Tan Chu Eu added eight points in a losing effort.
Coco Cafe came out the stronger of the two teams, utilising their size advantage and three-point shooting, to open up an 18-13 lead going into the second period.
William Hing gave Coco Cafe their largest lead of the game with a three-pointer to make it 29-16 midway through the second period.
Street Roc picked up at the offensive end to get shots to fall to cut the deficit to 33-24 at halftime.
They then switched the tempo to a faster pace by inserting a young and energetic Benjamin Lim Tze Jing into the lineup.
It worked as Coco Cafe tired out - with their smaller rotation - and couldn’t get anything to go.
Street Roc came to within two points before Coco Cafe closed out with back-to-back baskets to stay ahead 40-34 heading into the final stanza.
Street Roc coach Pong Bing Chau felt that everything went according to plan.
“The plan was to keep the deficit under 10 points at halftime. We then brought in Benjamin in the third quarter,” said Pong.
“We couldn’t put him in too early since he is not as experienced compared to our opponents.
“They are bigger and have a lot of experience. They also have good inside presence and have the ability to shoot from outside but we know that they are an older team so we had to play faster,” he concluded.