NTU defeat 4-time defending champs SIM to win first title since 2009
Nanyang Technological University (NTU) defeated Singapore Institute of Management (SIM) 58-46 to win the Institute-Varsity-Polytechnic (IVP) Basketball Championship.
This was their first IVP title since 2009, and their win also stopped SIM from winning a fifth straight championship.
This win also completes the double for NTU after they won the 2016 Singapore University Games (SUniG) Basketball Championship as well.
The match, held at Temasek Polytechnic saw Jabez Su end with a game-high of 18 points, including three 3-pointers, with teammate Russel Low (#32) adding in 13 points.
“Our team improved a lot from the last season where we didn’t even qualify for IVP, so it was a huge achievement to get back together, to get Jabez back, to win the championship. I think this game was the highlight for us,” said Russel.
Andy Ho (#37) led SIM with 11 points but his team missed the scoring presence of captain Richard Neo who had work commitments.
Defending champions SIM trailed by six (20-26) at half-time and made their move in the third quarter, putting the squeeze on NTU with a suffocating and physical full-court press to rattle NTU.
Russel was key in getting the ball up the court, using his size and 197cm height to full use. SIM managed to reduce the deficit to one point but it was as close as they would get.
NTU started to pull away again, and just before the end of the third quarter, a rare Russel Low 3-pointer with the 24-second clock counting down to zero lit up the crowd.
Russel then went back down in the next play and executed a huge rejection, triggering another set of ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ from the crowd, to ensure NTU went off at the end of the third quarter leading by six points (37-31).
There was no SIM comeback after that.
“I have been practising a bit before training, but not much. I was lucky,” laughed Russel, recalling only his second IVP 3-pointer after the game.
“My team is relatively inexperienced in breaking the full court press, so I had to help out on the front court. So we planned for me to get the ball up the court to execute our plays. The whole season, SIM have been coming back from a deficit, so we were definitely afraid,” added Russel.
NTU went on an 8-0 run to start a fourth, forcing SIM into a timeout at 7:38 on the clock.
Gary Yeo (#27) then drove into the paint but his tip shot bounced about the rim but failed to go in, leaving SIM coach Val Leong to hold his head in frustration.
Bryan Kor (#11) finally got SIM on the scoreboard in the fourth quarter, but by then NTU were ahead by 14 points (47-33).
NTU would hold SIM to just two points all the way to the 3:38 mark as they built their largest lead of 17 points (50-33).
SIM managed to rediscover their scoring, sinking 13 points in the remaining minutes, but it was not enough to prevent an NTU win.
“NTU played amazing. Russel, we can’t guard him. That guy is fantastic. The team worked off him. They are a well-coached team. We are not ashamed we lost. It was a good game in the end,” said SIM vice-captain Scott Driscoll.
“Defeating NUS in IVP was nice, because we lost to NUS in SUniG, which was the reason we did not become champions. It was a sweet victory,” recalled Scott.
In the playoff for third, Temasek Polytechnic (TP) showed cool heads when they came from behind to beat National University of Singapore (NUS) 58-53.
Trailing by two points with about four minutes to go, TP went on a 7-0 to carve out the eventual win.
Said TP captain Myron Lim (#7), “I think the team was able to calm down and face NUS in the crucial last five minutes. The first and second quarter, we didn’t do very well.”
“It feels good (to beat NUS). It’s an honour to play in IVP against the university teams. It gives us more experience. I hope the Year 1s and Year 2s will learn through this process,” added Myron.
For a full breakdown of scores and scorers go to RedSports.sg