# Daren powers Puchong United BC to hand team manager Irina perfect birthday present with third place in the Purple League
# Thomas Cupper outplays Tan Chun Seang 3-0 in his first Purple League match
# Puchong stun champions Muar City BC with a 9-8 win in their final tie
Puchong United team manager Irina Inozemtseva celebrated her 27th birthday in the best possible way – a third place finish in the 12-team Resorts World Genting Purple League with a shocking 9-8 win defending champions Muar City BC in their final match.
The former Russian international was all smiles and one happy person at the Arena of Stars in Genting Highlands on Sunday as her team walked away with the RM200,000 prize money that came with it.
Muar City who had already retained the title with two matches to spare to pocket the RM1 million prize money to finish on top with 106 points. Petaling Jaya BC finished second with 47 points to win RM400,000.
Cheras BC who were third after Saturday’s matches with a 10-7 win over Klang United BC ended up fourth and were RM100,000 richer – after finishing seventh in the inaugural league.
And the player who made all the difference to put Puchong United on the winning path was Thomas Cupper Liew Daren who was sidelined for more than two months with a hamstring injury.
“This is my first match in the Purple League but I knew that I had an important part to play. I had no choice but to take the court and give my boost,” said Liew Daren after his 11-7, 11-9, 11-7 win over Tan Chun Seang in the first singles.
“Frankly I am surprised with the scoreline as I have just returned to training and lacked match fitness. Chun Seang is seasoned in the league.
“I am glad that I came in the morning for a workout on the court. This helped me because I knew what to do with the shuttle. This probably played a big role in my win.”
The win by Liew Daren was inspiring for teammate Ayumi Mine in the women’s singles as she came back from a set down to beat Rusydina Antardayu 7-11, 11-6, 11=5, 11-5 and Puchong were 6-1 up on points.
Although Muar City fought back with Chan Peng Soon-Lee Hyo winning their mixed doubles match against Wong Fai Yin-Cheng Wen Hsing and Lee Yong-dae-Tan Wee Kiong their men’s doubles match against Ow Yao Han-Tan Wee Gieen it was not good enough.
And Hong Kong’s Angus Ng Ka Long made sure of the third place for Puchong United when he tamed South Korean veteran Lee Hung-il 11-5, 4-11, 11-10, 11-8 in a 25 minute thriller.
“This is my best birthday present. The players promised to fight and give a birthday present. I could not have asked for anything more. They kept their promise and delivered,” said a jubilant Irina.
The top eight teams in the league – Muar City BC, Petaling Jaya BC, Puchong United BC, Cheras BC, Petaling BC, Kepong BC, Ampang Jaya BC and Serdang BC – will compete in the Champions Challenge which begins at the same venue on Tuesday.
Petaling Jaya BC beat Kepong BC 11-8
Puchong United BC beat Muar City BC 9-8
The top 8 teams
Muar City BC 106 points
Petaling Jaya BC 47 points
Puchong United BC 32 points
Cheras BC 23 points
Petaling BC 12 points
Kepong BC 3 points
Ampang Jaya 3 points
Serdang -4 points