Each basket made on the Timor-Leste end was met with an eruption of cheers from every corner of the OCBC Arena. The cheers were deafening, and for any team participating in the 28th Southeast Asia (SEA) Games basketball tournament for the first time, it might come as a huge distraction. Not for the first-time participants, Timor-Leste though, who remained unfazed despite the noise, and the huge deficit of 7-47 they were facing against their Malaysian opponents at half-time.
The Timor-Leste side has yet to win any of their games. But for Head Coach Leandro Dos Santos, being able to participate in SEA Games 2015 mattered more than anything else. “We came to compete and learn, and grow as a team. This is a learning process. They (the team) need to be part of this (SEA Games).”
Nerves might have got the better for Timor-Leste during their first game against Indonesia, in which they finished 21-135. But the Timor-Leste today, showed a certain level of calmness against the Malaysia team. “They start to do plays, which they trained every day”, said Coach Leandro. And this was evident, as Timor-Leste scored more than double of their first-half points, by the time the final whistle rang out, showing their fighting spirit, and desire to do better in their games.
Timor-Leste in their fourth international game against Malaysia. Photo by: Amirah Liyaba Reduwan
The Timorese’s fighting spirit will be on display once more, as they take on Vietnam in their final game tomorrow.
While there are no other international games lined up for Timor-Leste after the SEA Games, Coach Leandro remains positive about the future development of the Timor-Leste team. “I hope we continue to train, and continue to develop, and the Federation (in Timor-Leste) will grow and do more and more and more basketball in Timor Leste.”.
We know that come tomorrow, the OCBC Arena will once again, come alive for the Timor-Leste side, who showed so much will to improve and fight against their more experienced opponents.
This author of this article is a volunteer content producer with Team Nila. For more content produced by Team Nila, please head to the 28th SEA Games Social Wall.