SINGAPORE - They were expected to beat Geylang Methodist Secondary School, but lost that game.
They faced defeat once again against Bedok Green Secondary School, this time in a 21-point hole, and only just managed to claw their way back and win.
Chung Cheng High School (Main) eventually made it through the semi-finals of the East Zone B Division Boys' Basketball Championship and, now, they are in the final.
In a hard-fought encounter yesterday, Chung Cheng overcame Dunman High School 55-48 to set up a title decider with reigning four-time champions Dunman Secondary.
While happy with the win, Chung Cheng teacher-in-charge Caleb Khoo said that his boys had let their guard down during the last quarter of their semi-final.
"It's a hard-fought victory in every way. We were leading by a fair bit, but they lost so many points on fouls," he said, insisting they would address the issue in the build-up to the final.
Point guard Dave Peter Ho admitted that they had slowed down towards the end due to fatigue.
The 16-year-old, who led the offence and set up countless opportunities for his teammates throughout the match, crumpled to the ground in a heap halfway through the final quarter due to leg cramps.
He managed to soldier on and captain Sim Jia Ming, also 16, said it was that kind of fighting spirit that saw them come through from the start of the tournament.
"We lost to Geylang Methodist because we were overconfident and we underestimated them," he said.
"It was a good wake-up call for us."
Ironically, that loss turned out to be important for Chung Cheng.
Underestimating opponents was the mistake Dunman High made.
Said captain Gerryl Pay: "We didn't think they (Chung Cheng) would be so tough, because they lost to Geylang Methodist, whom we beat easily.
"It's a lesson we learnt."
Chung Cheng will face Dunman Secondary - who trounced Ngee Ann Secondary 92-18 yesterday - in the final on Tuesday.
The boys from Dunman Secondary are the heavy favourites, but Chung Cheng's Jia Ming said: "They are strong but, of course, we will try our best to win. We'll work hard in defence and try to cut down on our turnovers. Then we'll have a chance."
This article was first published on Feb 26, 2015.
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