Serdang (4 December, 2016): Penang Black Panthers twice came from behind to defeat Melaka Titans 2-0 in the Ekspres Perdana Sepak Takraw League (STL) 2016 match at the Serdang Jaya Municipal Council Stadium, today.
Titans lack of composure and focus caused them the game as they took early leads in both sets only to see Panthers powering back to walk away with the victory.
Panthers cruised to a 2-0 (21-17, 22-20) win over the Titans the last time both these sides met in the reversed fixture, mid-November.
Panthers’ took to the court with the trio of Syahir Rosdi (tekong), Suhairi Sulaiman (feeder) and Kamal Ishak (striker) while Titans lined up with the same team which defeated Kedah Eagles 2-0 yesterday, Sahidan Ali (tekong), Zarlizan Zakaria (feeder) and Azwan Yahya (striker).
Azwan’s powerful spikes and blocks (recorded the highest number of blocks in a single STL match – 6) allowed the Titans to take the lead early on in the first set with Syahir guilty of a few unforced errors through his services. However, after a short time-out requested by Panthers coach, Helmi Ismail midway through the first set, the Panthers got hold of themselves to marshal their way through to a 21-16 victory.
The second set proved a similar feat for the Titans as they again struggled to take advantage after rushing to an early lead allowing Panthers the opportunity to come back and steal the win with a 22-20 score line.
With only 2 more matches remaining to the season, Panthers turn on the heat as they battle current league-leaders Terengganu Turtles who only sit on top with a difference of two points.
The day’s second match saw Johor Tigris piled up the pressure on ATM Guardians for the last play-off spot with a 2-0 win over Kuala Lumpur Thunder in the final match of the eighth round of STL 2016.
After yesterday’s 2-0 defeat to Kelantan Warriors, Tigris made a few changes to their approach while maintaining the same line-up of Amirul Asyraaf Khairul (tekong), Lutfil Azmi (feeder) and Norhafizi Razak (striker).
The trio took only 19 minutes to claim the first set 21-18 as they dominated throughout before sending the Thunders’ trio of Aizat Nor Azmi (tekong), Amirul Zazwan Amir (feeder) and Zamree Dahan (striker) empty-handed in this round of the STL as they cruised to a 21-11 victory in the second set.
As STL heads into the last round next week, Tigris, Warriors, Eagles and Titans will all battle it out to avoid the bottom two spots which will see the 2 teams dropping into the first division of STL. The remaining games will also be crucial for Guardians, Tigris and Thunder as they all race to finish in the top-four to qualify for the play-offs in two weeks’ time.
Sunday (4 December 2016):
Ekspres Perdana Sepak Takraw League (STL):
Penang Black Panthers bt Melaka Titans 2-0 (21-16, 22-20)
Johor Tigris bt Kuala Lumpur Thunder 2-0 (21-18, 21-11)
* Serdang Jaya Municipal Council Stadium, Selangor