THEY were facing a team whom they had recently beaten. Signs were good that they could improve on their bronze-medal showing at the last SEA Games.
However, the Singapore men's basketball team were stunned by Indonesia 74-87 in their semi-final at OCBC Arena Hall 1 last night.
The loss was all the more galling, considering that the Republic defeated the Indonesians 76-41 in April's South-east Asia Basketball (Seaba) Championship.
They had also beaten Thailand in the preliminary round to avoid facing regional powerhouses Philippines in the semi-finals.
However, they were out-hustled by a physical and vibrant Indonesia as veteran Andrie Ekayana Santosa led with 16 points.
"It was two different teams. They fielded a different one in Seaba," Singapore coach Neo Beng Siang said.
"But they deserved the win. They were hungrier than us.
"They played like there was no tomorrow."
However, the loss was not the only setback, as Singapore have also potentially lost two players for their bronze-medal showdown today.
Captain Desmond Oh was taken to the medical centre with suspected concussion in the third quarter while Lim Shengyu went down with an ankle injury with seconds left in the game.
"Losing your team-mates is a big thing. It pushed us harder to play but it just wasn't enough," said centre Russel Low, who put up 12 points and six rebounds.
Larry Liew top-scored for the hosts with 16 points but Singapore shot a poor 34 per cent under incessant defensive pressure from the Indonesians.
Singapore will play for the bronze medal against Thailand, who lost to the Philippines 75-80 in the other semi-final.
Despite the noisy presence of Filipino fans, the 15-time champions were pressured into a tight game with Thailand, as the two sides traded points until the final minute.
Basketball: Men's 3rd place Singtel Ch134 & MediaCorp okto, 6pm
This article was first published on June 15, 2015.
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