The final day of Nations Cup 2017 was marked by another gold medal awarded to Malaysian men’s basketball team, another triumph to add to their winning streak this year.
The championship for the gold took place between the Malaysian team and the Rest of the World team (ROW for short), which took place after the match between Indonesia and Egypt as they played their hearts out to decide who would get the bronze. While both matches showed different sides of the teams, either in the strategies they used or the raw power the players brought to the court, everyone who was there can agree: each match was intense and competitive, a powerful way to end this year’s Nation’s Cup.
Egypt vs Indonesia
The difference between the teams was evident even before the start of the match: Egypt huddled up quick and roused themselves with a resounding yell of power while Indonesia crowded around and said a quiet prayer before taking their positions in the court. The players on the Egyptian team were intimidating as they thundered down the length of the court, their large builds working to their advantage as they scored 2-pointer after 3-pointer, throwing air balls from great distances. At half time, Indonesia and Egypt were at 6-17.
But the Indonesian team came back quicker and stronger than we could have believed! Their slam dunks wowed the crowd as players literally twist in the air to deliver a clear shot into the net while being blocked by several massive players. Indonesia’s bouncy players depended on a speed-based strategy, by making themselves too fast for their moves to even be registered; they passed the ball back and forth before heads can turn, and before you know it, delivered their shot from halfway across the court.
The intense match ended with Indonesia and Egypt at 13-20 and Egypt’s victory was celebrated through a show of good sportsmanship between the teams.
Malaysia vs Rest of the World (ROW)
Malaysia’s team is uniform and the crowd could see it the minute they stepped on to the court; their movements were dynamic yet precise as they began warming up for the match. ROW appeared to look like a crowd of misfits at first glance, each player representing a different country but their various styles and talents in the court brought a flavour to the sport that spectators ate right up.
It was a fierce match from the very beginning, with the Malaysian team closely guarding each pass members from the ROW team made to each other. The team’s skills lay in the strategy and each player’s discipline – the team was brilliant at air balls from far away but did not rely on this. Instead, they used a style similar to Indonesia’s by passing the ball quickly between each member, until a teammate had a perfect moment to strike. ROW were brilliant in the speed and agility department, scoring 3-pointers at moments when the match was becoming stale and frustrating.
In an exceptional match that ended at 42-23, the championship will never forget how riled up the crowd was as even the Malaysian supporters cheered for both their home team and ROW – it was a game that focused on the talent and finesse each player delivered in the court.
Silver: Rest of the World (ROW)
Written by Aishwarya Adaikalaraj