The Singapore men's basketball team built on their good showing at last year's SEA Games by winning the Southeast Asia Basketball Association (Seaba) Stankovic Cup for the first time.
They beat hosts Indonesia 72-62 on Wednesday at the Hi-Test Arena in Batam, and wrapped up the title with a 69-61 win over Malaysia on Thursday.
Indonesia beat Malaysia 72-58 yesterday to finish second in the three-day competition.
Regional powerhouses Philippines sat out this year's edition to focus on August's Fiba World Cup, while Thailand did not participate owing to the political turmoil at home.
Despite the sub-par field, Singapore's coach Neo Beng Siang was pleased with his charges' win, which guaranteed them a place in the fifth edition of the Fiba Asia Cup, to be held in Wuhan, China, from July 11-19.
Said Neo: "We were missing some members of our SEA Games squad, and had about five rookies in their place, so I'm happy that we are still able to achieve our target, which was to win the tournament and qualify for the Asia Cup."
The team were missing captain Desmond Oh (on reservist duty), Lim Sheng Yu, Jabez Su (both out with injuries), Khaw Yeong Wooi (national service) and Hong Weijian (work commitments).
The victory will no doubt give the team more confidence as they shoot for gold at next year's SEA Games in Singapore.
During last December's SEA Games in Naypyidaw, Myanmar, they clinched a bronze, ending a 34-year medal drought for the sport.
Said Neo: "This win puts us on course for the gold medal. Our next target is to do well in the Fiba Asia Cup."
This article was first published on May 24, 2014.
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