Sustained intensity key for Singapore

Coach Milicich wants netballers to maintain momentum as they face tougher Asian rivals

Leading by 62-14, the result was already beyond doubt as Singapore entered the final quarter of their Asian Netball Championship Pool C match against Pakistan at the OCBC Arena yesterday.

But you would not have known from the way Singapore goal-attack Toh Kah Wei punched the air with delight after making a rare lay-up following a delightful combination with wing-attack Kimberly Lim.

The hosts eventually won 84-17, with an 87 per cent conversion rate.

Vice-captain Charmaine Soh led the way by scoring from 23 of her 24 shots. Toh (22 from 24), Lee Pei Shan (22 from 30) and Tan Xin Yi (17 from 19) were not far behind.

Toh's celebration was an example of the intensity Singapore showed throughout the game and this is what Singapore coach Natalie Milicich wants replicated this week as they progress to the Cup group comprising the top four.

The New Zealander told The Straits Times: "We were trying out different things in terms of defensive structure. In attack, our conversion was really good, and I was also happy with how our changes came out strong and made an impact."

Singapore, who won the Asian title in 2005, 2012 and 2014, will face four-time winners Sri Lanka (1989, 1997, 2001 and 2009) tomorrow, Pool D winners on Wednesday and defending champions Malaysia on Thursday.

Singapore's wing-defence Nur Aqilah Andin under the close watch of Pakistan's goal-attack Quratul Ain Arain during the Asian Netball Championship Pool C match at the OCBC Arena yesterday. Singapore beat Pakistan 84-17 and will face four-time winners
Singapore's wing-defence Nur Aqilah Andin under the close watch of Pakistan's goal-attack Quratul Ain Arain during the Asian Netball Championship Pool C match at the OCBC Arena yesterday. Singapore beat Pakistan 84-17 and will face four-time winners Sri Lanka in the Cup group tomorrow. ST PHOTO: DESMOND WEE

  • 87%

    Singapore's conversion rate.

Earlier yesterday, Malaysia had beaten the Maldives 74-13 to top Pool A, while Sri Lanka won 101-29 against India to win Pool B.

Hong Kong beat Thailand 65-38 in Pool D and will qualify for the Cup group with at least a draw against the Philippines today.

Milicich knows that it will get tougher as they attempt to reclaim their crown, or at least make the final to qualify for next year's Netball World Cup in England.

"We have not come under intense pressure yet so we have to make sure we are ready for tougher opponents," she said.

Tournament debutante Toh, 21, is confident that her team will not be complacent.

She said: "I was pumped up after making the lay-up even though we were leading by a big margin because it was an air ball when I tried the shot against Brunei in our first game. When the opportunity came again, I really wanted to put it in.

"With all due respect to our opponents, the second round is when the tougher competition begins. It will be a more physical battle and we will have to toughen up for the harder challenges."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 03, 2018, with the headline 'Sustained intensity key for Singapore'. Print Edition | Subscribe