Basketball: Singapore coach Neo set to stay despite SEA Games disappointment

Neo Beng Siang, Singapore's basketball team coach.
Neo Beng Siang, Singapore's basketball team coach.PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - The Republic's man-mountains may have missed out on what would have been an historic final appearance at the recent SEA Games, but the Basketball Association of Singapore (BAS) still wants to retain the services of coach Neo Beng Siang.

After edging out Thailand 54-49 to clinch the bronze for a second straight edition last month, Neo had said he will take a break from the game after being at the helm for seven years.

BAS president David Ong, however, wants to extend his contract, which ended after the Games. Neo, 47, is also the head coach of the Singapore Slingers in the Asean Basketball League.

"Coach Neo has done well for Singapore... we should definitely embrace him," Ong said on the sidelines of BAS' annual general meeting at its Aljunied office on Sunday.

"I believe he's got a few more years left in him to coach and contribute to the local basketball scene."

Ong, who is also an MP for Jurong GRC, was re-elected for a third two-year term. Charismatic businessman Pang Ching Keong was one of two new vice-presidents elected, while civil servant Ong Swee Teck took over as honorary secretary from Seah Liang Bing.

Pang - known for his generous monetary rewards to Singapore athletes - also presented $25,000 to swimmer Tao Li for claiming four individual golds and one relay gold at the Games.

He had earlier pledged $20,000 per SEA Games gold medal from the athletes' fourth gold onwards, and $5,000 for a relay gold. Swim king Joseph Schooling picked up $75,000 after winning all nine of his events (six individual, three relays).