CYBERJAYA (3 January 2019): The race to Genting is heating up as defending champions, Puchong United Badminton Club (PUBC) wrested top spot from overnight leader, Petaling Badminton Club (Petaling BC) with a 13-8 win against Bandar Maharani Badminton Club (BMBC) on Day 11 Stage 1 SSPL 2018/19 at the Gem In Mall, Cyberjaya today.
PUBC continued where they left off in 2018 to put a stranglehold on this edition of the SSPL with one more tie left to play in Stage 1, against Petaling BC on Sunday, with the winner will most likely decide the identity of one of the teams filling up the top two automatic qualifying spots for the final round on 24-27 Jan 2019 at the Arena of Stars, Resorts World Genting.
Playing without stalwart, Goh Giap Chin who was still down with fever, they still had enough fuel in the tank to win all four of their matches before sacrificing their final men’s singles match to BMBC.
World number six, Lee Cheuk Yiu from Hong Kong opened proceedings with a 3-1 (8-11, 11-7, 11-7, 11-8) win against Lim Chong King in the men’s singles.
Up and coming national junior, Ho Yen Mei then extended PUBC’s lead to 6-3 with a 3-2 (11-3, 9-11, 11-2, 7-11, 11-2) victory over compatriot Yap Yee in the women’s singles.
Former national player, Tan Boon Heong then continued his fine run in the SSPL, partnering Ong Yew Sin to devastating effect in overcoming local pair, Wong Tien Ci-Yap Roy King 3-0 (11-7, 11-4, 11-7) to further PUBC’s advantage to 9-3.
Previously, Boon Heong won all four of his matches, playing alongside Yew Sin’s regular partner, Teo Ee Yi.
Mixed doubles pairing, Lim Khim Wah-Ng Tsz Yau then made sure of the overall victory with a hard fought, 3-2 (11-8, 11-6, 9-11, 6-11, 11-10) over Mohd Razlan Shah Mohd Ridzuan Shah-Yap Rui Chen for an unassailable 12-5 scoreline.
Tan Kian Meng, who usually partners Lai Pei Jing in the mixed doubles for the national squad, had to be drafted in for emergency duty in the final men’s singles, with junior shuttler, Ng Jun Yan, taking advantage to win 3-1 (5-11, 11-8, 11-9, 11-9) for BMBC’s consolation win, for a final 13-8 scoreline in favour of PUBC.
“It is an open secret that our men’s singles, Goh Giap Chin is still sick. He was down with fever when he played in the match (against Serdang BC) previously.
“We are playing last, so we can make our decision accordingly, whether we have to put him in the line-up (against Petaling BC),” said Irina Nozemtseva, manager of PUBC.
In a later match, star studded Ampang Jaya Badminton Club (AJBC) overcame a loss in the opening and final men’s singles represented by Tan Jia Wei and Lee Zii Jia to win 11-7 against debutant, Bukit Mertajam All Stars Badminton Club (BMASBC).
AJBC secured their points through national number one women’s singles, Goh Jin Wei, Chooi Kah Ming-Lukhi Apri Nugroho (men’s doubles) and Chan Peng Soon-Shevon Lai Jemie (mixed doubles).
Their win, their sixth in a row, was not enough to dislodge PUBC at the top but with two teams qualifying automatically for Genting, was still satisfactory for manager, Ho Khek Mong as he saw his team tighten their grip on second place with one more match to play.
“We are still confident of maintaining our position in the top two. For me, we have done our best, even though we were targeting a clean sweep.
“Our men’s singles were lacking experience in handling the pressure. The Purple League is a good platform for the youngsters to play against experienced players.
“We at Ampang Jaya are proud to give them the opportunity to young players to play against world class players,” added Khek Mong.