Soh stars for S'pore

Soh stars for S'pore

SINGAPORE - The Republic's netball team made it three out of three wins last night after a 68-23 rout of Hong Kong at the Singapore Sports Hub's OCBC Arena, confirming their place in the semi-finals of the Asian Championships.

Goal shooter Charmaine Soh, 24, led the team with a scintillating 46 points, while debutant Kimberly Lim, the wing attack, also stood out on court, dealing well with the aggressive approach from Hong Kong and leading the offensive play to provide goal-scoring opportunities.

"There were many obstructions from the opposing players' hands but I managed to get around them through the game with speed and agility," said Lim, 19.

"Focusing on my game helps me to concentrate on giving what the team need from me."

Singapore, the defending champions, top Group A after three games with a 100-per-cent record and will finish off their first-round action against India today.

The Republic will take on main rivals Sri Lanka or Malaysia in the last four and barring a stunning upset against the Indians, they will enter that game with confidence sky high.

However, coach Ruth Aitken insisted yesterday she will remind her charges to focus on their final group game.

"It's always a challenge as a coach to ensure that we keep working for our next game. But the players themselves are really conscious of the fact that they have to be continually working and improving themselves."

Veteran Premila Hirubalan also warned that the team could not get ahead of themselves.

"We will take each game at a time, and I think mental strength is a very big thing in netball," said the 32-year-old.

"Netball is about who wants to run more and who wants to pick themselves up, like any other sport it is also a mental game."

Capped 85 times, the goal defender added: "The great thing about this team is really how well we pick one another up, not about how well we pass or shoot the ball."

Singapore are red-hot favourites against India and Aitken could well rest some players for the semi-finals.

Aitken in the meantime is busy with preparations for the next game against India.

"I am very pleased that we were able to stick to our game plan and sustain our intensity during games. We have to keep connecting and bring our games into another notch."

ljeremy@sph.com


This article was first published on Sep 11, 2014.
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