School sports: Tampines Meridian earns 1st title

Tampines Meridian Junior College captain Tiong Chuan Yao attacking the rim despite being guarded closely by Anderson Serangoon Junior College's Louis Ho (right) and Keith Tan during their A Division final at the Jurong East Sports Hall yesterday. TMJ
Tampines Meridian Junior College captain Tiong Chuan Yao attacking the rim despite being guarded closely by Anderson Serangoon Junior College's Louis Ho (right) and Keith Tan during their A Division final at the Jurong East Sports Hall yesterday. TMJC led from start to finish to win 62-46. ST PHOTO: JASMINE CHOONG

Newly merged TMJC use fiery start in A Div final to beat ASRJC; RI clinch girls' title

Their names may be different now, but Tampines Meridian Junior College (TMJC) still went into the Schools National A Division boys' basketball final with a point to prove against Anderson Serangoon Junior College (ASRJC) yesterday.

Before the schools' merger this year, Anderson beat Meridian in the semi-finals last year en route to retaining their title.

But TMJC came out firing on all cylinders at the Jurong East Sports Hall. They were 21-6 up after the first quarter and built on it to land their first A Division boys basketball title with a 62-46 win.

TMJC basketball teacher-in-charge Allen Lee said: "It has always been our game plan to come out aggressive from the start, and the big lead helped us tide over some scoring droughts.

"The extra training the team put in to get things right in pre-season really paid off. On top of the three sessions, they did more strength and conditioning on their own."

ASRJC, trailing 32-8 midway through the second period, woke up to make it a good fight in the second half by going on 14-0 and 10-0 runs. But, each time there was a whiff of a comeback, TMJC snuffed it out with crucial baskets to maintain their double-digit lead.

TMJC power forward Dorian Chin, who was named the most valuable player, was a force beneath the rim. He contributed a game-high 15 points alongside Darryl Chan, who netted a hat-trick of three-pointers.

TMJC captain Tiong Chuan Yao said: "It means a lot to create history with this team. It feels great and it is a real blessing.

"Credit has to go to our coaches and teachers, who helped us build a strong mindset. We were a little nervous when they started to catch up, but it wasn't the first time we were in such a position, so we knew how to stay calm to close out the game."

In the A Division girls' final, Raffles Institution (RI) eased past Hwa Chong Institution (HCI) 52-33 to reclaim the title they won in 2017.

They lost to HCI by 13 points in the quarter-final round-robin stage but, this time, their rivals had no answer to their 2-3 zone defence and resorted to long-range jumpers that often missed the mark.

RI coach Chiew Poh Leng said: "We did not have a good plan and strategy when we last met. We made some changes and were more mentally prepared today and showed no nerves."

RI were able to penetrate the paint more efficiently, with Tan Kang Yi plundering 25 points.

The captain and centre, named the girls' MVP, added: "This feels very surreal because of how the team have journeyed through setbacks this season.

"We lost three times in the quarter-finals and barely made it to the semi-finals as the fourth seeds.

"We lost to Dunman High last year, so to win this time feels amazing."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 24, 2019, with the headline 'Team in new form earn 1st title'. Print Edition | Subscribe