The crowd was buzzing as the teams took the court for their third match of the Mission Foods Nations Cup on Tuesday night (15 Dec). Fans knew the match would earn hometown heroine and captain Micky Lin her 100th international cap.
Both teams had lost their two prior matches and were facing a must-win situation to be in the running for the third and fourth place play-off.
Right from the get go, the home team took the game to Chinese Taipei with their mix of quick offensive play and cross court exchanges. GS Yasmin Ho rocketed them into a lead scoring 14 times in the first quarter after capitalizing on a number of defensive vulnerabilities.
Unsurprisingly, a number of key players were rested, including Co-vice captains Baizura, Charmaine, and GK Chen Lili. Singapore took the quarter comfortably 20 - 4.
At the beginning of the second quarter, the Chinese played a good defensive game, holding Singapore off for a good four minutes before the world no. 15 found a way past a determined and aggressive defence. Singapore then mustered a run of 11 straight points as they opened up a 25-point lead. The inclusion of Baizura, and Lili showed the depth of the squad as the Chinese were limited to 5 goals. Singapore closed out the first half comfortably 39-9.
In the third quarter, it looked like more of the same, as Singapore’s experience showed as they continued to stretch their lead and impose their dominance on the opponents. This compounded with a further 12 points from Yasmin ensured the hosts were on their way to victory with an insurmountable 39-lead.
In the final quarter, the Singaporean’s reiterated why they’re the best in Asia, as they cruised past the opposition, scoring almost at will, with both Yasmin and Charmaine combining for a further 18 points. At this point, the defensive frailties in the Chinese Taipei team was evident, as the lack of experience resulted in a number of crucial mistakes that led directly to goals.
It was a night to remember for Team Singapore as they showed their strength and depth with a comfortable 71-20 win. Newcomers like Wan Ling and Parveen Nair got significant amounts of game time, while Chen Lili managed her 50th cap.
Singapore head coach Ruth Aitken said, “I think the players relaxed tonight and got back to enjoying their game, and it was a special night for Micky. The changes Lili has made to adjust to the game has been fantastic, and she’s grown with every opportunity.”
Newly-minted netball centurion Lin said her team members each put on temporary Mickey Mouse tattoos to commemorate her career milestone and added, “It’s amazing to have the group of girls with me, the most memorable part of this journey is having the opportunity to play with the girls.”
In a previous interview with Yahoo Singapore, Lin was described as "Fearless defender, capable leader" - a tagline which spawned several memes on Instagram from Lin's teammates congratulating her on the achievement.