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Netballers rewarded with gold after nailing Singapore

New Straits Times logo New Straits Times 3/12/2019 New Straits Times
a group of people posing for the camera: Players and officials celebrate at the Santa Rosa Sports Complex in Laguna yesterday. © Provided by New Straits Times Players and officials celebrate at the Santa Rosa Sports Complex in Laguna yesterday.

THE national netball team maintained their Sea Games superiority when they defeated Singapore 48-42 in the final to retain their gold at the Santa Rosa Sports Complex in Laguna yesterday.

However, it wasn’t easy as Singapore were impressive in the opening two quarters before Malaysia turned the screws to romp home.

The gold is Malaysia’s third from four editions where netball has been contested in the biennial Games.

Malaysia also extended their winning streak to 12 matches in the Sea Games since losing to Singapore in the 2015 final.

Goal shooter An Najwa Azizan and goal attacker L. Karishma were in their element in terms of accuracy and intensity as they hardly missed any chances in Singapore’s semi-circle.

National coach Tracey Robinson told her players to keep it simple in the final.

“I was not too worried about their form as they are all skillful players.

“I advised them to make use of their skills to outwit the Singaporeans and to be patient in all aspects,” said Tracey, whose contract expires after the Sea Games, yesterday.

Singapore, the 2015 champions, started aggressively to race into a 13-12 lead in the first quarter.

It was a nail-biting affair in the subsequent 15 minutes with both teams tied at 21-21.

The game swung Malaysia’s way after a slew of tactical changes from coach Tracey in the third quarter and they raced ahead to lead 40-30.

In the fourth quarter, Singapore tried to bounce back but Malaysia held on for victory.

“The third quarter is the most important period of a netball match. It is the period when the winning team would usually race ahead,” said Tracey.

“The girls produced a strong performance and were tight in all departments to hold a healthy lead.

“Of course players like Najwa and Karishma were impressive today, but I have to credit everyone for their outstanding performance.”

© New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd

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