The 17th World Basketball Invitational for Chinese was held in Bangkok Thailand between 22 and 25 November 2001, and saw the ACBA men’s veteran team participate in their fourth tournament since 1997. The ACBA women’s youth team joined the veterans on this tour which also had stops in Pattaya, Thailand, and Penang and Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia.
Whilst the veteran’s team participated in the tournament, they were able to rekindle friendships made during the previous four tournaments, as well as making some new friends from around the world. It is through this annual tournament that networks are made with players and associations from around the world, allowing future tours to go ahead in the future years.
Meanwhile, in between visits to the great tourist sites, the youth team played six exhibition games – five against university teams, and one against the Selengor State youth team of Malaysia (the National Champions of 2001).
Once again the standard of competition was high, and although the girls came back without a winning record, they proudly represented ACBA. The highlight of the tour was the last game against the Selengor State youth team, where the girls came within one point of an amazing upset infront of a vocal crowd of 1,000 locals who walked away appreciative of the effort both teams had put in.
Indeed all the ingredients of this game were extraordinary. The game was played in the evening in a local suburban town (or ‘kumpong’ as the Malay’s call it), in humid conditions. Before we arrived a large crowd had already assembled, and by the time the game was set to start, there was not an empty seat in the house. After trailing the national champions by as many as 15 early in the last quarter, the girls played tighter defense on the Malays, and thanks to some sharp shooting by Emma Bramston, the girls fought back to loose by one after the final shot from Josie Taoi was ruled to have left the hand after the final buzzer had sounded.
Away from the basketball court, the tour stopped at the resort cities of Pattaya, Thailand and Penang, Malaysia. The tour also visited several animal parks, which allowed them to get up close and personal with some elephants, and alligators. Several local teams also hosted the girls on a night out on the town in Bangkok, and by the end of the tour, the girls had made many new friends with the girls from the local teams.
Returning with great memories, the touring party resumed to life in the real world, but always looking forward to the tour to China in 2002.