CYBERJAYA (6 January 2019): Defending champions, Puchong United Badminton Club (PUBC) booked their place in the final rounds of the SSPL 2018/19 after a nail-biting affair, drawing 10-10 with Petaling Badminton Club (Petaling BC) to qualify in second place on the final day of Stage 1 SSPL 2018/19 at the Gem In Mall, Cyberjaya tonight.
PUBC who defeated Kepong BC 10-8 in last year’s final at the Arena of Stars, Resorts World Genting, will be joined by Ampang Jaya Badminton Club (AJBC) for the two automatic qualifying spots after AJBC topped the standings at the end of Stage 1.
“We are the defending champions and we received a good fight from all the other teams. I am happy for my team for showing consistency in their game from Day 1,” said PUBC manager, Irina Inozemtseva.
“Qualifying automatically for the final rounds means we are already through to the semi-finals. It’s not easy as all the teams know each other’s games and also we have to take into consideration, the weather in Genting Highlands,” added Irina.
The absence of stalwart, Goh Giap Chin who was down with illness was missed by PUBC as Petaling BC drew first blood in the opening men’s singles.
In his place, Alfred Lau Yu Leong, who was making his debut in the SSPL 2018/19, couldn’t stand a chance as he was outclassed by Chong Yee Han, 3-1 (7-11, 11-1, 11-5, 11-2).
It was game on in the women’s singles as national player, Ho Yen Mei levelled the tie 4-4 as she overcame a spirited challenge by Indonesia’s rising junior, Gabriella Meilani Moningka, 3-1 (11-9, 11-10, 7-11, 11-9).
Former national player, Tan Boon Heong, completed Stage 1 undefeated with his third different pair, Tan Kian Meng to win his fifth consecutive match, this time against Petaling BC’s, Man Wei Chong-Shia Chun Kang, 3-0 (11-9, 11-4, 11-7) for PUBC to forge ahead 7-4.
Singaporean-Malaysian mixed doubles pair, Terry Hee Yong Kai-Lai Pei Jing then played the match of their lives to win 3-2 (11-8, 8-11, 8-11, 11-10, 8-7) over Hong Kong-Malaysian pair, Tang Chun Man-Goh Liu Ying to put Petaling BC two points within PUBC’s 9-7 lead.
It was all to play for in the deciding men’s singles as independent shuttler, Iskandar Zulkarnain Zainuddin, fought back to level the tie 10-10 after a smashing win against Lee Cheuk Yiu from Hong Kong (11-10, 6-11, 11-9, 10-7).
However it was not enough for Petaling BC to go through and had to wait the draw for Stage 2 which was held shortly after.
For finishing third, Petaling BC, was drawn in Group A alongside Bandar Maharani Badminton Club (BMBC), Serdang Badminton Club (Serdang BC) while Kepong BC who finished fourth ended up alongside Bukit Mertajam All Stars Badminton Club (BMASBC) and Tebrau City Badminton Club (TCBC).