GOING back-to-back-to-back, Melbourne City Deaf Basketball Club continued its Asia-Pacific Club Championships domination this week.
After winning the last two Asia-Pacific Deaf Basketball Club Championships – in 2012 (Manila, Philippines) and 2014 (Goyang, South Korea) – the City-siders went into this year’s tournament brimming with confidence and hopeful of a three-peat.
The Deaf International Basketball Foundation’s (DIBF) third Asia-Pacific Club Championships – held this year in Fukuoka, Japan – belonged to Melbourne City from the outset.
The lads knocked over Hong Kong, Tokyo, Fukuoka and Taipei in the preliminary rounds – setting up another clash with Taipei for the title.
Melbourne City shot the lights out – rocketing away to a 16-46 half-time margin before boosting the gap even further to 73-27 by the final change.
Lachlan Jackson was unstoppable under the ring and in tandem with Shane Crick managed to negate Taipei’s best efforts.
Melbourne City took its foot off the pedal through the final term, but by then the damage had been done as it obliterated Taipei to take the title with an 84-55 triumph on 10 November.
Melbourne City Deaf Basketball Club coach Mark Bilyj said it was an extraordinary feeling to take out the title again and continue to inspire Melbourne’s deaf sporting community.
“It was a great feeling to win back-to-back-to-back,” Bilyj said. “I am really proud of the boys winning the tournament and they played the best basketball I’ve seen in this tournament.
“The boys put in the hard yards since April this year and it’s relieving that it has paid off.
“We hope that what we have achieved will hopefully inspire more junior deaf basketballers to dream big.”
Bilyj praised tournament MVP Lachlan Jackson’s dominant performance at the five-spot, but said he wasn’t alone by any means as the entire City squad embraced the challenge.
“Lachlan Jackson was the stand-out player for us throughout the tournament – he took home the MVP honors which was richly deserving,” Bilyj said. “He’s our centre and main focal point in our offensive system – Lachy was also a bull pulling down rebounds and proved to be a roadblock preventing opposition scoring.
“Following Lachy, captain Shane Crick was another standout providing stability and leadership with his scoring and rebounding while playing multiple positions but mainly as a small forward.”
Bilyj played solidly at the point before injured cruelled his campaign while Dylan Beasley, Ramas McRae Jake Harwood, Thomas Andrews and Halil Durnaoglu all proved significant contributors on and off the court.
Outside of a small hurdle against Fukuoka – where the boys had to scramble to notch a ??? win – the side soared at the tournament… but it’s still a lot to take in.
“We kept it smooth sailing throughout the tournament, though there was one game against the host team who pushed us to the limit with their outside shooting and physical presence,” Bilyj said. “We play against champion clubs across the Asia Pacific regions every 2 years…each tournament there are new teams, different line-ups so it’s particularly hard preparing for the event.
“Winning any championship game especially international events is a remarkable achievement. Winning the first Asia Pacific Deaf Basketball Club Championship (APDBCC) in the Philippines in 2012 was fantastic given it was the inaugural event to stage an international event for clubs.
“The first event gave the boys something to look forward to and attract more players, gaining momentum towards the 2nd APDBCC in South Korea 2014.
“Winning that title in South Korea was extraordinary and now today in Fukuoka, Japan…we’re lost for words.
“It’ll take time to sink in what we have just achieved.”
With Australia poised to host the 2018 Asia Pacific Deaf Basketball Club Championship, Melbourne City has already shifted focused to qualification and the amazing hope of a four-peat.
The Melbourne City Deaf Basketball Club has been a mainstay in the deaf sporting landscape since 1992 and continue The Club is 24 years and already achieved a lot of successful – both nationally and internationally. It’s now a highly regarded and respected deaf sporting club in Australia
The club wanted to make special mention of its sponsors Auslan Services and Deaf Basketball Victoria as without their support, the side would not have been able to travel and compete in Japan, as well as Wesley for his support.
The Asia-Pacific champions also wanted to send a big thanks to the Melbourne deaf community – who constantly sent them messages of support, well wishes and got right behind the campaign.
WATCH the tournament grand final on Youtube: https://youtu.be/0NDnKTGClwg
MELBOURNE CITY DEAF BASKETBALL CLUB
ASIA-PACIFIC DEAF BASKETBALL CLUB CHAMPIONS
Mark Bilyj (coach)
Shane Crick (captain)
Thomas Andrews (co-captain)