GENTING HIGHLANDS (10 February 2018): Surprise package of the SS Purple League 2017/18 knockout stage, Kepong BC and heavy favourites, Puchong United BC will be heading into tomorrow’s eagerly anticipated final, primed to win the SSPL title for the first time.
Puchong United BC will be banking on the likes of Chou Tien Chen, Yoo Yeon Seong, Wei Nan, national shuttlers Shevon Jemie Lai, Tan Kian Meng, Goh Liu Ying, Lai Pei Jing and Liew Daren while Kepong BC will have Chinese Taipei pair, Su Ching Heng-Liao Min Chun, Dey Subhankar, Lim Chi Wing, Goh Soon Huat and Cheah Yee See at their disposal.
Kepong BC might not be the favourites in tomorrow’s final – held at the Arena of Stars, Resorts World Genting – but head coach, Mohd Zakry Abdul Latif is content with being labelled as underdogs.
“I think that suits us just fine. We can just play our normal game as we got nothing to lose. Plus that was our game plan from the previous two games and it bore fruit,” said Zakry.
“I personally think that it does not matter if you have the strongest squad. What matters is that the players perform on the day. Ultimately it all comes down to if they are able to dictate the pace of the match and are confident in their own abilities.
“But Puchong United BC is a strong team. It won’t be easy playing against them, more so to beat them. I can only hope that my players can continue to shock everyone as they did against Petaling BC (quarterfinal) and Cheras BC (semi-final),” he added.
The former national shuttler will once again be putting high hopes on his first men’s singles, Dey Subhankar who has been performing splendidly in his last two appearances.
“He (Subhankar) plays a big role in our team as he inspires his other teammates playing after him with his fast-tempo and aggressive style of play. Plus he has beaten world-class players in Lee Hyun Il and Tommy Sugiarto in his last two matches so he will be in a confident mood,” Zakry said.
The last time the two met, Puchong United BC came out triumphant in a closely-fought encounter, beating Kepong BC 12-7 on the day.
The difference in quality between the sides was clearly highlighted as Puchong United BC topped the SSPL 2017/18 Stage 1 & 2 standings while Kepong BC finished fifth, 20 points behind the leaders.
Despite that, Puchong United BC is wary of the threats posed by Kepong BC.
“There might be some changes to the line-up to ensure that we have the strongest team for the final. We might just spring some surprises,” said Puchong United BC’s team manager, Irina Inozemtseva.
Meanwhile, Petaling BC ended their SSPL 2017/18 campaign at fifth after defeating Ampang Jaya BC 10-7 in the SSPL 2017/18 5th/6th placing match earlier today at the Arena of Stars, Resorts World Genting.
SS Purple League 2017/18 Finals Result (10 February 2018)
(2pm) 5th/6th Playoff
Ampang Jaya BC lost to Petaling BC 7-10
MS1: Tan Jia Wei lost to Tanongsak Saensomboosuk 1-3 (9-11, 6-11, 11-5, 5-11)
WS: Xu Wei lost to Zhang Beiwen 2-3 (7-11, 5-11, 11-4, 11-4, 8-11)
MD: Lukhi Apri Nugroho-Muhd Syawal Mohd Ismail bt Ian Wong Jien Sern-Soh Wooi Yik 3-0 (11-7, 11-3, 11-8)
XD: Chan Peng Soon-Wong Kha Yan lost to Chen Tang Jie-Peck Yen Wei 0-3 (2-11, 9-11, 5-11)
MS2: Yan Runze drew with Kenichi Tago 1-1 (8-11, 11-6 Retired)
SS Purple League 2017/18 Finals Fixtures (11 February 2018)
(12pm) 3rd/4th Playoff: Petaling Jaya BC vs Cheras BC
(4pm) Final: Puchong United BC vs Kepong BC