Friday November 2, 2012
Champions aim to breathe fire again
By KNG ZHENG GUAN
PETALING JAYA: Defending champions Sarawak Fire Horse have yet to play to their full potential in the Malaysian National Basketball League (MNBL) but head coach Nomar Islar believes his team will “wake up” when the competition heads over to Penang today.
The Fire Horse won their first two matches against the Crouching Tigers and Penang Stallions but suffered a meltdown against the Westports Malaysia Dragons – losing narrowly 71-72 last Sunday at the Maba Stadium.
Despite trailing by a massive 27 points at half-time, the Miri-based team – powered by prolific American import Anthony Johnson – fought their way back into the match only to throw away a three-point lead in the final seconds.
Islar, however, feels that there are plenty of positives to take from that defeat and has backed his men to bounce back in true defending champions’ style.
“The Dragons were shooting really well in the first-half as we did not warm up properly ... that’s how they had such a huge lead,” said Islar.
“But I’m happy at the way my boys fought back to overturn the 27-point deficit.
“It shows that we’re not easy prey. We are the defending champions and we will play like one.”
Fire Horse forward Chin Zhi Shin also echoed his coach’s opinion and believed that the defeat against the Dragons was just the kick up the backside that they needed.
“I would say that all of us locals in the team are not prepared yet and we became too reliant on Anthony and Devon (Sullivan),” said the 1.9m-tall Zhi Shin.
“When they play well, we do too .. but when they don’t, we fail to step up.
“So, I believe that losing that match was a good experience because it shows that we’ve got good team spirit
The Fire Horse will face Farmcochem today at the Han Chiang Indoor Stadium before taking on home team Stallions on Sunday.