The young guns of Malaysia and Indonesia opened the Under-16 division of the SEABA tournament in a highly-entertaining game.
In a back and forth affair, Malaysia avoided an opening day disaster, staving off Indonesia, 63-58, Sunday morning at the SMART-Araneta Coliseum.
15-year-old swingman John Tang powered Malaysia with 23 points on a whopping 28 attempts and grabbed nine rebounds.
But it was the tandem of Yi Kang Teoh and Jason Khor that saved the day for the Malaysians.
Malaysia led by as much as 14 points, 50-36, with 6:54 left in the third frame. However, the Indonesians’ pressing defense, anchored by guards Julius Robert and Andres Bonfilio, distorted the flow of Malaysia leading to a nine-minute, 22-second scoring drought that bridged the third and fourth stanzas.
Indonesia was able to go on a 10-0 rally, eventually getting its first taste of the lead with 4:44 remaining, after a beautiful dish from Robert to a Gregorius Linduaji basket for a 57-55 lead.
Needing to stop the bleeding, Khor found an extra gear, intercepting a cross court pass by Felix Alexander for an easy layup. Baskets by Khor and Teoh furthered Malaysia’s cushion, while misses from downtown by Darryl Sebastian ended Indonesia’s hijack attempt.
Khor finished the game with 11 points and grabbed seven rebounds, while Run Sam Yap chipped in 10 markers. 15-year-old Teoh overcame a 12 turnover game by scoring all five of his points in the clutch while grabbing 11 rebounds and dishing out eight assists.
Sebastian led Indonesia with 12 points but Indonesia shot just 26 percent from the field.
Malaysia will next face Thailand on Monday, May 15, at 10:00am. Indonesia, on the other hand, takes on Batang Gilas on the same day at 12:00nn.
Malaysia (63) – Tang 23, Khor 11, Yap 10, Teoh YK 5, Lee 5, Chin 4, Tan C 3, S. Chandaran 2, Teoh WH 0, Wong 0, Tan E 0, Lee 0.
Indonesia (58) – Sebastian 12, Tarigan 9, Bonfilio 9, Linduaji 6, Olindo 5, Hans 5, Alexander 4, Robert 3, Fernanda 3, Patiara 2, Fawwaz 0, Hady 0.
Quarterscores: 21-15, 37-33, 55-49, 63-58.