Basketball: Singapore women's team raring to go for first SEA Games in five years

The BAS 3x3 Women's Open final between Scream & Roll (in black) and Team 3 on April 23, 2022. ST PHOTO: GAVIN FOO

SINGAPORE - After missing out on the 2019 SEA Games, national basketballer Pauline Ang and the rest of the women's team are eager to make their return to the regional competition this year in Hanoi.

The last time the women's team featured at the biennial competition was at the 2017 edition in Kuala Lumpur, when they finished fifth out of seven sides.

"It's that kind of feeling where you finally get recognised, that your hard work has paid off as a team and you've achieved your goal," said the 28-year-old, who was part of the team in 2017.

"We like to see our neighbouring countries, what the standard is and how we are able to match up with our counterparts."

After a tough two years that have been disrupted by the pandemic, the national cagers are hoping to make up for lost time and make the most of opportunities to compete as they gear up for the SEA Games.

They made two overseas trips to Malaysia and Thailand in February and April respectively and were also able to take part in a local competition - the Basketball Association of Singapore (BAS) 3x3 Women's Open - for the first time since the pandemic.

The BAS 3x3 Women's Open took place over two days at the Singapore Basketball Centre and featured 16 teams.

In Saturday's (April 23) final, Scream & Roll comprising national cagers Ang, Chin Wan Qing and Shermaine See beat Team 3 22-14, earning the chance to represent the Republic at the July 6-10 Fiba 3x3 Asia Cup, which will be staged here.

At the 3x3 Men's Open last week, it was Team Busy, who were formed by Singapore Slingers quartet Leon Kwek, Delvin Goh, Larry Liew and Lim Jun Yuan, who emerged winners.

Ang believes that events such as the 3x3 Women's Open will help in Games preparation, giving players a chance to get used to the intensity of competing and to build understanding among teammates.

The centre said: "It helps with the rapport and intensity because training and competing are different. We were able to transfer whatever we used in training to the court and communicated well."

After training without competitions for the past two years, the overseas trips and the return of local competitions also provides a platform for the basketballers to gauge where they stand in comparison to teams from other countries.

Chin, 25, said: "After we got to go to Malaysia, we could really see our progress and see our standard outside. It was our first overseas competition in a long time, the first time since Covid. We were excited about it, we learnt a lot from it."

On their goal for the SEA Games, women's team captain Lim Jia Min said: "Ultimately it's to go out there and do our best, try whatever was practised and learnt throughout the years. The results do matter to a certain extent but having fun and getting used to playing is more important. If we play well then the results will come."

For See, 27, competing in the SEA Games is also important as it helps shine a light on women's basketball. She said: "It's been a while since the women's team has featured so getting the opportunity to go out there makes the women's team visible and know that we can be role models for the younger girls."

With the conclusion of the BAS 3x3 Open, BAS president Koh Koon Teck noted the significance of events returning for both national athletes and the wider community.

He said: "We are happy because this is a platform for them to play competitive games. People are very excited because there are a lot of events coming up - for players, it's an opportunity for them to compete at a higher level and they know where they are now in preparation for all the major Games."

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