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NSL 2015 Champions: Sneakers Stingrays

The Grand Final: Sneakers Stingrays 45-37 Magic Marlins (HT 27-18)

Battling for the champions title and winners cheque of $6,500 in-front of an enthusiastic crowd at Toa Payoh Sports Hall this afternoon were finalist debutants Sneakers Stingrays against experienced Magic Marlins who held the crown in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

It was the less-experienced side that came out on top today with a 45-37 result that gives them the title for the first time.
Looking at their results over the past years makes the Stingrays success this year all the more impressive (5th in 2012, 4th 2013, 3rd 2014).

Marlins had a dip in performance last year – finishing 4th in the league – but bounced back this year and were top of table after group games and confident of taking the crown once more.

Sneakers Stingrays picked up where they left off yesterday with a high tempo game and confident play from defence to attack. Despite their group round defeat at the hands of Marlins (31-45) they never looked intimidated and took control for a 13-10 advantage in the opening quarter and stretched to a 27-18 by the halftime break.

Stingrays shooting combination of Yasmin Ho (GS) and Rachel Leong (GA) had their eye on the target throughout and have developed a strong and effective partnership over the season.

After their high gear start, they did start to fade in the second half, allowing Marlins to regain their momentum and take the third quarter (5-10), trailing by just four points. Marlins also made some positional changes to keep legs fresh so that they could finish strongly as the tension grew amongst the spectators.

The gap remained constant for the opening ten minutes of the final quarter with Deborah Wong (GS) and Pamela Liew (GA) staying composed in the Marlins attacking circle but both teams continuing for every ball. A time-out break called by Marlins due to injury seemed to disrupt their final flurry, allowing Stingrays to regain control and win the quarter 13-9 an take their first ever NSL title with a final score of 45-37.

Captain Carmen Goh was almost speechless. She said, “It feels great and really reflects how hard we have been working for this. To see the team achieve it, I am really lost for words. I am very proud of how we played, especially in the last two games.”

Marlins Captain, Nur Liyana Noordin said, “We didn’t start well and Stingrays really wanted it today. Their intensity was really high and we just didn’t do enough.”

3rd/4th Play-Off: Tiger Sharks 49-36 Blaze Dolphins (HT 28-19)

First match of the day was a chance for these two teams to finish the season on a high note after losing out in the semi finals yesterday. 
When these two sides met in the group stages, the result went 59-42 in Sharks favour but yesterday’s results show that it’s a clean slate with every game of this competition and past results are just those.

Sharks started with a bite and jumped in front 12-9 in the opening quarter. Dolphins reverted to some preferred positional combinations – Micky Lim back at GD – and both teams gave some of their fringe players court time – Ashya Huang starting in defence for Sharks and Dolphins using their younger players in the mid court.

Dolphins seemed to lose focus in the second quarter and let their opponents slip away a little and open up a 28-19 advantage and the gap went to ten points by end of the third (37-27).

Sharp shooting from Charmaine Soh for the Sharks in tandem with Premila Hirubalan and Alisi Naqiri staying strong in defence kept them in front for the rest of the match as they claimed third place in the league with a 49-36 win.

Dolphins Coach Wang Jingqing said, “I thought our defence did well today with lots of turnovers but we let ourselves down with too many unforced errors and not getting the basics right. We could have won the game. The season has been short but we’ve managed to get all our players on court and we gelled really well so its encouraging for next season too.”

Sharks Captain Premila Hirubalan was pleased to end on a positive note after being bitterly disappointed by the semi final result. She said, “It was a good ending to the season. The girls really encouraged each other today and helped pick me back up too. If only the season had been longer I think we could have won it. It’s been a lot of fun playing as a new team this year and it’s been a good mix of players that are keen to come back next year and build on this year.”

Prize Fund:
1st team: $6,500
2nd: $4,500
3rd: $3,000
4th: $2,000
5th: $1,000
6th: $500

Most Valuable Player Awards (MVP):
(Winners receives $300)
Blaze Dolphins: Toh Wan Ling
M1 Sunfish: Shina Teo
Magic Marlins: Pamela Liew
Mission Mannas: Nurul Baizura
Sneakers Stingrays: Yasmin Ho
Tiger Sharks: Ang Shi Qi
International Player Award: Alisi Naqiri (Tiger Sharks, Fiji) 
Umpire Award: Joan Yani
Coach Award: Goh Seck Tuck (Sneakers Stingrays)

Following the end of the finals, the following squads were announced:

National Opens Squad 2015

(12 players from this squad will be selected to represent Singapore in the SEA Games from 31 May-7 June and World Cup in Sydney from 9-16 August)
Micky Lin
Chen Huifen
Nurul Baizura
Premila Hirubalan
Charmaine Soh
Kimberly Lim
Ang Shiqi
Shelby Koh
Nur Aqilah
Chen Li Li
Anna Soo
Olivia Flanagan
Pamela Liew
Melissa Teo
Natalie Long
Kwok Shuyi
Jocelyn Ng
Parveen Nair
Toh Wan Ling
Cassandra Soh
Yu Meiling

National 21s Squad 2015
(This squad is training for the Asian Youth Championships which will take place from 14-21 December in Hong Kong)
Nur Athirah
Olivia Chen
Avelyn Leong
Bibi Noorjahan
Claire Seah
Valerie Shao
Jeraldine Lee
Koh Mei Mei
Olivia Wu
Petrina Chia
Tan Shi Ni
Joanna Toh
Ayshath Zaseela
Hannah Teo
Georgina Lee
Shina Teo
Shelby Koh
Kimberly Lim
Nur Aqilah