#SEABA2017: Hanbin Ng believes Singapore stands a good chance in SEABA

Image from FIBA.
This first appeared on FIBA.com.

Singapore have progressed rapidly in the past few years, rising through the ranks to become a legitimate threat to the dominance of the Philippines in Southeast Asia. One of the reasons for their rise has been a steady influx of young, talented and confident players, who have been gaining a lot of invaluable experience playing for the top regional club league in their sub-zone, the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL).

A prime example of an exceptional up-and-comer is none other than Hanbin Ng. The 1.94m forward  has been at the forefront of Singapore's new generation of trailblazing hoopsters bent on elevating the status of the game in their country and ensuring that the national team continues to be highly competitive. 

Hanbin has averaged double-figure scoring in each of the FIBA Asia tournaments he has played, which has made a number of Singaporean fans view him as one of the country's top players. In spite of that, Hanbin remains an exemplar of humility.

"As much as it could be the dream of many to be known as the top player in the country, I believe I have not earned that sort of recognition yet," he said. "My goal from the start was to do my best to contribute to my team in whichever ways possible to win games, and being recognised as the best or not at the end of the day is just secondary."

Winning games is paramount for Singapore this year, especially with the stakes so high. Unlike in the past, only one SEABA team earn a slot in the FIBA Asia Cup 2017, which means no less than winning the SEABA Championship this year in Manila is required for Singapore to return to the continent's top hardcourt tournament. That will be a very difficult proposition given the status of SEABA hosts Philippines and established contenders like Thailand and Indonesia, but Hanbin is unfazed. 

"I believe the team's main target is to outdo our results from the past," he explained. "With the core of the team remaining the same, I believe we stand a good chance in the upcoming SEABA and SEA Games."

If Hanbin's words fool you into thinking he is complacent, then think again. On the contrary, he appreciates the true nature of how winning the SEABA title is an uphill climb. In fact, the only time the Philippines have not dominated the tournament was when they did not participate. Hanbin and his teammates, though, know they have what it takes to pull off the improbable. They nearly defeated the Philippines in the recent past, and their experience as members of the successful Singapore Slingers squad has fast-tracked their growth.

"We would not be where we are today without the Singapore Slingers," Hanbin shared. "The exposure of competing against neighbouring countries on a regular basis has toughened us up tremendously, eliminating the fear element stemming from inexperience that we used to have in the past."

The national side's confidence also stems from the fact that they have a new head coach who is hell-bent on transforming the city-state into a respected basketball country in Asia. One of the national program's long-term objectives is to have a number of Singaporeans playing in leagues outside of the country.

"I believe we have much to learn from the vast experience of the new head coach Frank Arsego," Hanbin said. "It is only a matter of time before Singaporean players get invited to play in other countries, which will eventually lift the standard of basketball."

Hanbin is also aware of his place in the greater scheme of things for the future of Singapore hoops. Through the years, some of the players who have laid the groundwork for the current generation have hung their sneakers and called it a career. Hanbin is not oblivious to this as he and his teammates are hoping to inherit the mantle of leadership and fulfill to the promise left by those who came before them.

"As veterans like Desmond Oh and Lim Shengyu are stepping down from the international scene soon, younger players like Delvin Goh and Leon Kwek have been impressive in filling their spots," he said.

"I believe the future of Singapore is bright." - Hanbin Ng

When Hanbin and the rest of the Singapore national team make it to Manila in May, they will be underdogs. Despite that label, however, the Singaporeans know that they have a fighting chance, and they are focused on seizing whatever opportunity comes their way.




Next Post »
0 Comment