Myanmar coach ‘proud’ of ‘very young’ team despite landslide loss to Gilas
Myanmar head coach Ten Kok Heng commended his players’ efforts following a 147-40 whipping at the hands of the Philippines on Friday night.
Ten said he his proud of his players for playing to the best of their abilities in a game that the unranked Myanmar side had already lost even before tipoff.
“I’m proud of my boys because they never gave up. In terms of size, physically, we totally lost to them. I have nothing to say. It was just sure that we’re going to lose these games,” Ten admitted.
“The Philippines and everybody in this tournament, they are two levels above us.”
But hope isn’t lost for Myanmar, with Ten himself imparting inspiration to his young crew. He, after all, was part of the Malaysian squad that stunned the Philippines for the gold medal back in the 1989 Southeast Asian Games.
Still, the valiant effort didn’t go unnoticed as the fans inside Smart Araneta Coliseum cheered for every basket Myanmar made throughout the game.
The effort alone is commendable considering the team was assembled less than a month ago and that the country joined the regional competition for the first time in almost three decades.
“It was at the last minute when we assembled the team. Some are students, some are rookies. It’s a very young team,” Ten said. “Most of them don’t have experience and we just gathered together and started training last month.”
Myanmar has an average age of just 20.3 years old, with the oldest player in the squad a 23-year-old guard in Thu Tun Tun Sei and the youngest being 18-year-old big man Aung Zaya.
Ten knows the experience his players gained will be beneficial going forward as the team competes in the upcoming 2017 Southeast Asian Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
“We have a long way to go. But with proper playing and training, maybe in five or six years, you can see that they can come up with a competitive team with the big population they have,” Ten said. “I’m very sure that when the SEA Games come, we will play better as a team.”
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