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SportCares gives ex-offenders basketball boost at indoor stadium

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Kai Yung (White #6) penetrates the blue team's defence for the layup. He eventually finished as the top scorer in the half-time game. (Photo by Lim Yong Teck/Red Sports).

Singapore Indoor Stadium, Tuesday, May 14, 2013 – At half-time of the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) match between the Singapore Slingers and the Indonesia Warriors, 15 players took to the court for a 10-minute game.

By the way the players passed, communicated and came together as a team on the court, you couldn’t tell that some among the 15 were ex-offenders.

The SportCares Community Hoops program, an initiative by the SportCares Foundation and the Singapore Slingers, brought five ex-offenders aged 16-23 years old together and encouraged them to build a team by calling on family and new friends to help integrate them back into society through basketball. 

The SportCares Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Singapore Sports Council (SSC), provided a set of jerseys for the boys. The Basketball Association of Singapore provided free court time for the boys to practise at their headquarters in Geylang and the Singapore Indoor Stadium provided practise time at the stadium a day before the match for the boys to test their skills in the bigger venue. 

Lin Ken, who is currently pursuing a diploma in mass communication, certainly benefitted from playing in Team SportCares.

“It is a first-time experience to play at the Singapore Indoor Stadium for and it is great!” said the 23-year-old.

“Basketball is about how we communicate with each other on the court and I have been able to do that with this team. They are not judgemental and they treat us like normal civilians. They certainly don’t look at our past. This team is fantastic,” added Lin Ken.

All 15 players were trained by Slingers’ Kyle Jeffers for six weeks to get them ready for the match in front of fans at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.

Points flowed in the game with substitutes constantly coming in to maintain the high-octane level. All players had their chance on court and 16-year-old Kai Yung eventually emerged as the top scorer.

“I have been playing basketball for three years and it has taught me a lot of qualities. In basketball, you have to respect the coach and trust your teammates,” said the Mayflower Secondary student who found out about the program through a friend.

“This team is good because we really bond and share the ball. I really have fun with this team,” commented Kai Yung. 

Lim Teck Yin, the chief executive officer of SSC, said: "If you want proof that sport brings out the best in people and bridges communities, take a good look at these teams. The boys come from very different circumstances but measure each other only by their teamwork and good sportsmanship. They respect each other as equals."

The above is an excerpt from RedSports. To read the full article, visit this link.
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