MALAYSIA simply showed more desire to get out of a slump than Singapore did as it hacked out a 44-41 victory in their matchup to barge into the win column of the Southeast Asian Basketball Association Championship on Monday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
The Malaysians maintained a sizeable lead before withstanding a late rally by the Singaporeans in another one of the few close finishes this tournament to register their first win in four games.
Ting Chun Hong provided the most firepower in a low-scoring battle as he fired a game-high 18 points along with seven boards to lead the Malaysians, who kept the Singaporeans winless after three outings.
Delvin Goh led Singapore with 14 points, 12 rebounds, and three blocks that went for naught.
The Singaporeans, though, refused to go down without a fight as two-time Asean Basketball League MVP Wong Wei Long buried a short jumper before Leon Kwek scored on a stab off a baseline drive from the right side to pull them to within two points, 41-43 with 25.6 seconds left.
After Kek Chan split his free throws to give Malaysia a three-point lead, Singapore had a chance to force overtime but Wong and Hanbin Ng each missed a three-point attempt in the waning seconds.
MALAYSIA 45 – Ting 18, Liaw 7, Chan 5, Choo 4, Ong 4, Heng 3, Choong 2, Teo 2, Ang 0, Chin 0, Liew 0, Mak 0
SINGAPORE 41 – Goh 14, Kwek 7, H. Ng 6, J. Ng 5, Wong 5, Liew 2, Lim 2, Cheok 0, Chia 0, Lim 0
Quarterscores: 15-13, 26-20, 35-30, 45-41.