Malaysia officials see progress after another runner-up finish in Seaba U16 tournament
Malaysia has not missed a podium spot in the Seaba Under 16 since 2011 with in three runner-up finishes and a third place. Jerome Ascano

MALAYSIA wound up on the same spot for the third time in the Seaba Under 16 Championship, but officials believe the team is on the right track in terms of basketball development.

The Malaysians feel the runner-up finish, their third in four Seaba U16 meets, did not reflect their overall performance in the event featuring some of the best young players in the region.

Even with the loss, the Malaysians made quite an impression with their skills and talent. They trailed by just two points late in the second period, only for Batang Gilas to display their depth in claiming the victory.

[See Batang Gilas stamps class, trounces Malaysia to complete sweep of Seaba U16]

Malaysia Under-16 coach Lee Kheng Tian sees a bright future for the team that trailed by only two points late in the second period before Batang Gilas stepped on the gas and took control.

“Under the guidance of our new president (of the Malaysia Basketball Association), our basketball is moving in the right direction,” said Lee.

In 2015, Malaysia lost by 37 points to the Philippines in the Seaba Under-16 held in Cagayan De Oro City.

The Malaysia youth coach said their basketball federation is working hard in the development of the sport in their country from the elite to the grassroots.

Malaysia has American Chris Thomas as head coach of the country’s ABL team Dragons, and has teams that compete in the PBA D-League for exposure.

“All the training that we are supposed to do, we do. We got our coaches from America, our players they come to the PBA D-League to gain experience, and then they go back and teach them,” said Lee.

Lee is pleased with his team’s play, although the lack of experience showed in Thursday’s game.

“We got our game plan but during the crucial moment, (because) they are still young, (the) execution was not good,” said Lee.

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