The Piala Tan Sri Hamdan bin Sheikh Tahir was first introduced in 1974. The event initiated at Sekolah Alam Shah, Cheras where SDAR emerged as victors followed by RMC and The Malay College. The following two years, first at RMC and then Sdar, saw again a similar result; the same three schools in the same order. In 1976, another trophy was introduced for the girls of residential schools of which the victorious STF unrivalledly secured. This year saw differently as the affair unfolded in the grounds of STAR,
The Malay College was placed in the B group along with three other favorites for the title. At the first light of the following day, July 18th the team equipped themselves for the first game against SMS Selangor. As the game commenced at the Raja Chulan school court, the team somehow found difficulty in adapting to the court and play. During the game, Ikmal Hakimi our left guard was injured and was unable to play for the rest of the tournament. The first game was won with the score of 70-63. That evening, the same day The Malay met SMS Kedah. Although playing under the hot broiling sun the whole team especially Johari and Riza Beg played well but the game was considerably slow, as both team showed clear signs of exhaustion. At the end, college won 73 - 60.
On July 19th; against SMS Melaka, The Malay College emerged victorious again with the score 131-31. After a somewhat brief but formal opening ceremony where the distinguished guest witnessed the parade of participating teams, college went against SMS Pahang and won 60 - 44.
The game against RMC today was a crucial one for RMC was this year’s favorites and they too had not lost a single game. On July 20th, at the Raja Chulan court, the game advanced rather warily, with points increasing steadily even on both sides. Johari played magnificently but was faced with a 5 fouls threat bitterly, the expectant appallingly happened in the last minute with an even score of 61 - 61 and was replaced by Nik Rushdi. A foul by their player led to a penalty throw which was taken by Nik. Both shots went in; college led 63 - 61 with barely 30 seconds left. Another basket put the team ahead 65 - 61 and when the whistle blew it ended a fight not to be easily forgotten by both teams. That evening against SMS Penang, the team struggled to contain the attacks launch against us. With their infallible ball handling and baseline tactics, they led until the 18th. minute of the second half. College, proceeding persistently, through an intercepted ball, Hasman sank the winning one. Another basket confirmed the win. Score 65 - 62. The Malay College was in the semi finals.
The game against STAR in the first few minutes was incredibly even, but as it continued STAR led considerably. In the second half the situation changed as suddenly our score escalated and college took the lead. The final score: 73-67. College was in the finals. RMC too had qualified for the finals after defeating Sdar in the semi finals.
The day of the finals, the 22nd of July, RMC clad in red entered the court. The Malay College differently in white. Precisely 5.00 pm, at the starting whistle Johari won the throw up. But in the tussle the opposition grasped the opportunity to score the first basket. Counteracting Wahid dribbled up and with a long shot over their zone defence, sank the first basket for college. Not the least deterred RMC hastily answered. The game proceeded with both constantly attacking and one ever guarding to contain the other. The battle of the first half ended in favor of college. In the second half RMC turned to ‘man-to-man’ but still the lead kept changing hands. By-then three RMC players were sent off for committing five fouls. With only a minute remaining, the lead seesawed into RMC’s favor; 60-63. Attacking, the ball was brought to the baseline of their half, with only 50 seconds left, a mistake in their defence and Hasman scored a basket; 62-63. Following that, due to a foul, a free throw was given to Aziz. Everybody held their breath as the first ball hits the back rim and bounced off. The second throw went in the third, wavered slightly but sank in too and the last 15 seconds ticked away. When the final whistle blew, jubilant college supporters streamed into the court and shared tearful hugs with the players.
After the closing ceremony and the last dinner, our headmaster treated the whole team to a celebrating feast.
Lastly, we would like to express our utmost gratitude to Mr. Tan, who with his strategy and guidance brought us to the championship, to Mr. Liew whom we owe too much and whose invaluable help, shall always be remembered, to our license officer Ahmad who had been beside us till the end, to the Red Crescent of STAR who helped Riza Beg, to the students and the headmaster of the Raja Chulan school who had been very kind to us all through the tournament and to next year’s team, good luck and play hard.
Report by: NIK RUSHDI
|Standing, from left: Ikmal Hakimi, Abd Halim Hussien (C), Nik Rushdi, Johari, Ramlan, Wahid (Ay) and Riza|
Squatting, from left: Aziz, Md Shah, Rozlan, Zulkifli and Hasman