Pic: Terengganu HT players celebrate their MHL League title after beating Tenaga 3-1 on Sunday.
CHAMPIONS Terengganu Hockey Team (THT) received an easier TNB Cup semi-finals draw when they were paired with fourth placed Maybank Monday.
League runners-up Sapura will have a tougher time after drawing third-placed Kuala Lumpur Hockey Club (KLHC) in the other semi-finals.
Both first-leg the semis will be held on Wednesday at the Kuala Lumpur Hockey Stadium, with the return leg on Friday.
THT has the League title, Sapura the Alagendra Cup, KLHC the Charity Shield while Maybank is the only team without silverware yet this season.
And THT are on a mission to complete their third consecutive double in the Premier Division of the Malaysia Hockey League.
"Even though we have been paired with a team which finished fourth in the League, I believe it will not be an easy match as Maybank are, and have also shown in the last two seasons, that they are a fighting side," said THT coach Sarjit Singh.
Sarjit remembers well, as THT played Maybank in both the previous TNB Cup semi-finals.
"Coincidentally, we also played Maybank in the semi-finals of the TNB Cup in the last two seasons. And we lost both the first legs, and only qualified for the final by making a comeback in the second legs.
"Maybank have also given every team in the MHL a good fight, and we need to play much better to win the first leg itself this season," said Sarjit.
For the record, THT beat Maybank 5-1 and 5-2 in the League.
Maybank team manager R. Premkumar said: "We have a development squad made up of youth and seniors as guide. It has been a close season for us, and I believe we have nothing to lose as underdogs in a two-leg semi-finals."
Sapura coach Yahya Atan has done his homework, and is ready to face KLHC. KLHC won both the League matches 5-2 and 3-0.
"We lost earlier after leting in two first quarter goals in both the matches, but after studying the match videos, I know what not to do against KLHC in the TNB Cup," said the experienced coach.
Yahya will also be tightening his penalty corner run-outs, which were ineffective in the League against KLHC.
As for KLHC team manager Ahmad Anuar Sham, he had a limited choice of either being paired against seeded sides Sapura, or THT.
"Both the seeded teams are strong, so it really did not matter who we played in the semi-finals. We will have to give our best in both the legs to play in the final," said Ahmad.
WEDNESDAY: TNB Cup semi-finals First Leg: Terengganu HT v Maybank (KLHA, 6pm), Sapura v Kuala Lumpur HC (KLHA, 8pm).
President's Cup: TNB Thunderbolts v Politeknik (Tun Razak, 6pm), UiTM-KPT v SSTMI Tun Razak, 8pm).
Vivian Soars Cup: Semi-finals: SSTMI v PKS-Uniten (Ministry of Education, 6pm), Blue Warriors v ATM Pernama (Ministry of Education, 8pm).