Delvin and Co return to the court in search of a SEA Games silver

Delvin Goh almost always stands out in a crowd.

Standing at two metres, he is possibly the tallest among the 308 Singapore athletes that will compete in this month's South-east Asia (SEA) Games in Myanmar.

The 18-year-old power forward from Nanyang Polytechnic is part of a 12-man basketball team that are targeting a first silver medal for the Republic at this year's Games, from Dec 11 to 22.

The men's basketball team for this year are young, ranging from 18 to 27 years old.

The average height of the squad is 1.90m.

These big boys will be up against it as the Philippines have dominated the basketball tournament at the SEA Games, winning 15 of the 16 golds on offer since the sport made its debut at the 1977 Games.

In contrast, the Singapore men have won just the one bronze in 1979.

Coach Neo Beng Siang said: "We were always targeting a bronze at the past few SEA Games and we regularly finished fourth or fifth behind teams like Malaysia, Indonesia and Thailand, with Philippines well ahead, of course.

AIMING TOO LOW

"Maybe we were aiming too low. This time, we are shooting for the stars and hopefully even if we fail, we will land on the clouds.

"We are improving on our defence rotation and the round robin-format may be to our advantage, especially if we can beat Thailand in our first game on Sunday."

At the recent South-east Asia Basketball Association (Seaba) Championship, Singapore beat Indonesia by 10 points en route to a third-place finish.

Goh added: "Maybe in the past we were inconsistent and lacked the ability to close out games we should have won.

"But we are working on that and we are confident of doing well. Apart from the Philippines, we are a match for the best of the rest like Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia." Regardless of how they do in Naypyidaw, some of the players will remain in the public eye.

Four of them - Ng Hanbin, Chase Tan, Lim Shengyu and Goh - emerged from a group of more than 200 audition hopefuls to secure parts in actor Tay Ping Hui's movie directorial debut Meeting The Giant, which is set to premiere in March or April next year.

The quartet take on roles as young basketballers recruited from China to improve the quality of the sport here.

The film also focuses on how the players try to be accepted in their adopted country and foster friendships with the locals.

Ng, a 24-year-old shooting guard, said: "It's a real eye-opener as I've always wondered how TV and movies work, although I never dreamt about acting in a movie.

"The basketball part was easy because that's what we do, but acting was a real challenge.

"My role is more solemn, which is a contrast from my real personality. I'm more of the talk-cock kind and it was hard not to laugh when the others were cracking jokes.

"But I think we did not do too badly. None of us accumulated more than 10 NGs (no-good takes) at a go."

Meeting The Giant producer and veteran actor Zhu Houren was all praise for the national basketballers.

COACHING

He said: "After Ping Hui spent one month coaching them in acting, you couldn't even tell that they were acting for the first time. "It's not easy to be playing basketball and relaying emotions, but maybe because they are national players, they have a flair for the big occasions.

"They did well."

While coach Neo admitted filming for TV did affect preparations for the Seaba Championship, the 47-year-old added: "There are positives in the sense that it would raise the profile of Singapore basketball and encourage more youngsters to pick up the sport."

FACTFILES

Name: Delvin Goh (far right)
Date of birth: April 14, 1995
Height: 2m
Weight: 104kg
Favourite Athlete: Kobe Bryant
Favourite food: Potato in any form
Pet peeve: People who are arrogant

Name: Ng Hanbin (far left)
Date of birth: Jan 13, 1989
Height: 1.94m
Weight: 86kg
Favourite athlete: Michael Jordan
Favourite food: Chicken
Pet peeve: Self-centredness

DID YOU KNOW?

Chase Tan (in red) scored the Singapore Slingers' 100th point when they beat the Brunei Barracudas 102-61 in 2011, the first time any team had crossed the mark in Asean Basketball League history.


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