They were not tipped as medal hopefuls, given their inexperience at the continental level - especially when compared to their more illustrious female compatriots.
But, even considering that, the men's bowlers underperformed yesterday in the men's singles, the Asian Games bowling competition's first event.
Ranked at 38th, Justin Lim was the best of Singapore's six men over six games on long oil, with 1,183 pinfalls (average 197.17).
Ng Chiew Pang had the same pinfalls as Lim, but finished two places below at 40th.
Sportsboy of the Year winners Muhammad Jaris Goh (1,180) and Keith Saw (1,176) were 43rd and 44th respectively, while Joel Tan (69th, 1,115) and Javier Tan (78th, 1,091) completed the Republic's roster.
In contrast, Thailand's Yannaphon Larpapharat took the gold with 1,319, while China's Du Jianchao (1,300) and Thailand's Sithiphol Kunaksorn (1,299) clinched silver and bronze respectively.
National coach Remy Ong attributed the Singaporeans' poor showing at the Anyang Hogye Gymnasium Bowling Centre to a lack of composure.
"I'd put it down to nerves. It was their first day and their first time competing at this level, and some of them couldn't handle their nerves," Ong told The New Paper over the phone yesterday.
"They were also up against very experienced bowlers. Take Yannaphon for example, I was bowling with him back in 2002 (at the Asiad, where Ong won three golds)."
In contrast, the average age of the Singapore men's team is 19.5, and only Saw, 20, and Ng, 21, have competed in a major Games before Incheon - the 2011 South-east Asia Games in Jakarta, where they finished out of the medals.
"The lane conditions today were also totally different from what it was at the Asian Indoor and Martial Arts Games here last year," added the former world champion.
"They knew their moves and their equipment and they were trying very hard to execute their game. But, moving forward, they have learned something today and hopefully they will do better in the doubles (tomorrow), because it will be played on short oil.
"Even when they were training in Singapore, they have done better on short oil than on long oil."
The competition continues with the women's singles today, with six games over long oil again.
Singapore are medal hopefuls here - Shayna Ng and New Hui Fen claimed the singles silver and bronze in Guangzhou four years ago. The women's team took home two other medals - a gold in the trios and a silver in the Masters.
Ng and New are back, along with Daphne Tan, Cherie Tan, Jazreel Tan and Joey Yeo.
Asked about the women's competition, Ong would only say: "Things will get better for us tomorrow."
This article was first published on Sept 24, 2014.
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