With their preparation lasting barely two months, funding issues casting a cloud over their heads and the arrival of a new coach, all eyes were on the Singapore women's team to survive at the eighth Asia-Pacific Tchoukball Championships.
Despite the challenges, the third-ranked team still surprised the naysayers by fighting their way into the final for a shot at their old nemeses, the undefeated world champions Chinese Taipei.
However, their opponents still proved a leap too far, with Singapore losing 56-38 at Our Tampines Hub yesterday.
Still, team captain Irene Tan believes that progress is evident - Singapore finished third in 2016 - and hailed her team-mates for performing admirably despite the defeat.
She said: "We have all stepped up to the same level to play well together. We improved our composure and technique to play efficiently throughout.
"We made them work hard for this win. They were taken aback at the start because of our defence, where we were able to save a decent amount of their shots."
National tchoukball coach Jeff Ang was also proud of the team's achievement despite the short preparation time and new environment.
"We still have a long journey to go. This is a good milestone for us in our training and improvement plan for the future," he said.
"Being able to make it to the final and defending well against the world champions shows that we are on the right track."
Ang is already looking ahead to next year's World Championships, noting: "We have a few young players who have just joined and are gaining experience from these competitions. We are confident (we can) beat them (Chinese Taipei)."
In the men's category, Singapore beat Malaysia 58-52 to win bronze, while world champions Chinese Taipei overwhelmed Macau 74-35 to clinch the title.