School Sports

Bukit Panjang clinch title in stirring comeback

Bukit Panjang Government High (in red) came back from 11-14 to beat Presbyterian High 17-15 in the decisive fifth set.
Bukit Panjang Government High (in red) came back from 11-14 to beat Presbyterian High 17-15 in the decisive fifth set.ST PHOTO: ONG WEE JIN

They were down and almost out, staring at match-points against them twice in their Schools National C Division boys' volleyball final.

Yet, the boys from Bukit Panjang Government High refused to surrender, and somehow found a way back into their match against Presbyterian High School yesterday.

Against all odds, they won the final, when centre Lee Wei Shen sent down a smash to cap a memorable 25-14, 20-25, 25-16, 13-25, 17-15 win for his team - their first C Division volleyball title since 2012.

The Bukit Panjang players roared in joy after the winning point, and captain Leong Xiu Heng said: "It was an amazing comeback. All of us thought we were going to lose."

The match at Woodlands Sports Hall was a tense, see-saw battle, as both sides split the first four sets.

Entering the deciding set, the momentum was on Presbyterian High, after Bukit Panjang made a slew of errors to drop the fourth set easily.

They held match points at 14-11 and at 15-14, but with victory so close in their sight and roared on by close to 400 supporters, they were unable to convert any of them.

On the first match point against them, Bukit Panjang coach Ng Peng Cheow called for time-out.

He revealed his words of assurance then: "I told them that even if they go on to lose, they are already champions in my heart."

For Presbyterian High, it was a painful lesson as they rued their missed chances.

Said captain Samuel Htoo: "It was a hard fight and a close match, but it's a bit wasted."

Their coach Goh Yong Guang said nerves got the better of his boys at the critical points. He said: "The players tensed up at the end. But, like what I always tell them, 'No pain, no gain.' We will learn from this and come back stronger."

In the girls' C Division final, Ngee Ann Secondary clinched the title with a 25-18, 25-17, 25-19 victory over Cedar Girls' Secondary.

It was sweet revenge for the Ngee Ann girls, who had lost to their opponents twice in the zonal rounds, including the final.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 27, 2015, with the headline 'Bukit Panjang clinch title in stirring comeback'. Print Edition | Subscribe