Dr James Naismith really knew what he was doing. In December 1891, he nailed a peach basket onto a ten-foot pole, and got players to throw soccer balls inside. Balls had to be manually retrieved after every goal, and the laces on the ball made the bouncing unpredictable and erratic.
Move forward one hundred and twenty-five years, and the game has advanced far beyond Dr Naismith’s original vision. Players who rain down shots from 38 feet out. Giants who move with the speed of gazelles. Entire leagues dedicated to the sport, and legions of loyal fans who are devoted to the amazing game. The game of basketball.
On Saturday the 4th of September, the Law IFG Men’s team went down to the Stephen Riady Centre in U Town to play in the preliminary rounds against some tough competition.
Basketball Captain, Lim You Xiang, walked everyone through the plays and defensive scheme, and led us into battle against some formidable opponents.
Yale NUS’ forefathers said that they were aiming to create “an interconnected, interdependent global environment”. That much was obvious going into our first game, as the tall trees from Australia, America, New Zealand and god knows where else were up for show. Their athleticism and length kept the Law side under pressure, and many turnovers ensued, which the Yale NUS team capitalize on with many fast break points.
You Xiang wowed both sides with his impressive ball handling skills, spinning left and right, keeping the YNC side off balance. The Captain hit some of his patented floaters to close the gap, but YNC just kept on rolling… Rolling right into me. I swear to the basketball gods (Michael, Larry and Magic; go look them up) that I felt my ribs crack after a YNC player kneed me. Fortunately, I was just being melodramatic and was able to get back up and write this article.
The Law side made some quick substitutions and played on, grinding it out against a very talented Yale side. Unfortunately, we couldn’t close the gap, and suffered our first loss.
This was a nail biting game that had everyone cheering, screaming and sitting on the edge of their seats. USP’s star player started slow, whilst the Law side started hot. Captain You Xiang got to the basket at will, and after a quick three from the Law side, things were looking good. Even better, the defence seemed to be able to shut down USP’s secret weapon, even blocking him on one possession. Not in our house. Well technically, it’s more their house, but you get the general idea.
When the second half started, things started to go downhill for the Law side as the USP monster began heating up and getting to the freethrow line with ease, and converting them too.
Soon, Law was only one point ahead, but with a three from the USP side, we found ourselves behind all of a sudden, and we were playing for survival. Despite some good play from Darrell Lee and Nick Yap/Choo (I can never really tell them apart), when the final buzzer sounded, the score was 18-17, USP.
This was the game that would get us our first win. We were certain. Captain You Xiang put on the freshmen lineup, and after some good defence and fastbreaks from Brendan Loy, law was up in points. Solid defensive play from the ever pesky Benedict Ted and ‘Mr Muscles’ Shaun Sia kept the Dentistry side in single digits. Marcel Wong’s intimidating inside presence scared off any would be trespassers, and the ever jovial Rashpal Singh dared the other team to test him.
However, the dentistry side just wouldn’t seem to go away, playing pesky, physical defence. After half time, You Xiang turned it up and put the game out of reach for the dentistry side, before going back to the sidelines for some well-deserved rest.
Going up against a Science side that had just beaten the very strong Medicine team, we were nervous. But, it didn’t show, as we kept the game close during the first half with a genius defensive scheme from You Xiang. Solid play from Elias Tiong and Jerrold Au kept it competitive, and going into half time, the law team was within striking distance. The players gave their soul to the game, diving on loose balls, taking charges and playing with energy and focus.
As the second half started however, the science team showed off their size and athleticism, scoring some quick points that put them up 10 — 4. However, Law surged back into the game with a put back and jump shot, closing it to 10 — 8. Strong rebounding from Nick Choo and strong defence from Jerrold played a crucial role in the late game surge. Unfortunately, two turnovers within the last minute cost us the game, and we went down, 11 — 8 to a very strong science team, in heartbreaking fashion.
It was a tough day for the Law team but everyone played their best, and it showed in two very close games and a win. Special thanks to Walter Wan, our team manager, for helping with photos, and making sure the team was running smoothly.
Despite the rough competition, everyone is looking forward to the Law Med game at the start of 2016, and we hope to see you there!
Photos by Walter Wan (Year 2)
Written by Linming Ho (Year 1)