NAYPYITAW - The national cagers' winning streak came to an end after going down 71-67 to Singapore at the Zeyar Thiri Indoor Stadium on Tuesday.
The Malaysians were in possession in the fourth quarter, trailing by a single point (67-68) but a mistake enabled the Singaporeans to collect three points in the last 13 seconds to hand the Malaysians their first defeat in the competition.
The team began their campaign on a positive note with a 61-53 victory over Indonesia on Sunday and followed it up with a 73-58 win over Cambodia on Monday. Malaysia play host Myanmar on Friday before facing heavyweights Thailand and favourites Philippines on Saturday and Sunday respectively.
National coach Paul Advincula admitted their last minute mistake cost them the game and they will have to improve in their next match.
"We will have to bounce back ... after this defeat, there is no other option," said a visibly upset Advincula.
"The mistake towards the end of the match was crucial and it cost us the game. We will take it one game at a time after this but it won't be easy."