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01 May, 2022
28 February, 2023
23/02/2023
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Thai trio set to play together for first time on the national team

BANGKOK (Thailand) - Tyler Lamb. Moses Morgan. Freddie Lish.

"I think this could be the start of something really special."

Thai basketball fans are all very aware of these names. Even fans from around the Southeast Asian region and in Hong Kong and Chinese Taipei know these players well. These are the bigger stars that have played for the national team in recent years, as recently as the First Round of the FIBA Asia Cup 2025 Pre-Qualifiers.

"I think the biggest thing for us is that we’ve been playing together for a long time."

As the national team heads to the Second Round of the Pre-Qualifiers in Mongolia, those fans will get to see them in action once again. And for the first time with the national team, they will be on the court at the same time. It is an opportunity that the trio has been dreaming of for a long time and it’s now becoming a reality.

"As long as we can stay humble and stay locked in we should feed off of each other’s game."

 

"I think that it’s a blessing that we can finally play together on this stage and represent the country and our families," said Morgan, who has played for Thailand in the both the Pre-Qualifiers for the previous Asia Cup as well as the upcoming Asia Cup in 2025. "For us, we’ve been wanting to do this for a little while and I’m just happy that it’s just finally coming together."

The three players have a long history together with relationships spanning almost a decade. All three have been playing in Thailand ever since 2015 and they’ve had the chance to play on the same team before on a professional club, but, to emphasize again, this would be their first time playing for the flag side by side on the court.

"It’s exciting to be able to compete together again especially now that it’s for the country," said Lish. "We’ve known each other for a while now so we are just looking forward to showing we can help basketball grow in the region."

Lamb and Morgan knew each other growing up in California, while Lish was in Milwaukee in their youth years. They represent a newer pool of talent abroad that Thailand have tapped into to help boost the strength of the national team. While it’s not the end-all solution to build a strong national team program, there’s no doubt that the approach has indeed strengthened the squad in recent years even if it’s only been until now that they are available to share the court together.

"For me, it’s been a long time coming," echoed Lamb. "The Philippines kind of showed everyone here the blueprint for the future of basketball out here, so I feel like it’s been a long time coming."

"I feel like we have many more steps to take in order to go forward, but at least right now we move in the right direction. Right now at least, I’m happy with that."

"Happy I get to suit up with these dudes. It’s something that we’ve talked about for a long time. Being able to represent the flag together is something special."

Not the first rodeo

Tyler Lamb was the first among the three to play for the national team when he suited up at the Southeast Asian (SEA) Games in 2017 before making his FIBA debut at the SEABA Pre-Qualifiers in 2018.

At the SEABA Pre-Qualifiers, held in Thailand, the 31-year-old shined (as expected with 22.3 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.5 assists, and 2.8 steals per game while shooting 40 percent from the three-point line.

"Putting that Thai flag on and going out to play, that’s where you really feel like you playing for your country and you got the support of your country. That’s a special, special feeling."

"I really wish everybody can experience that because there’s nothing like it. Playing for clubs and professional teams and everything, that’s fun and all that, but when you’re playing for a country when you playing for a medal, that’s a different type of feeling right there," said Lamb, who continued to play for Thailand at SEA Games 2019 and the Asia Cup 2022 Qualifiers.

Moses Morgan was then next in line, as he suited up for Thailand at the East Region - Asia Cup Pre-Qualifiers. The 30-year-old forward was just as splendid with averages of 20.4 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 2.4 assists per game for Thailand.

He’s had a few more stints with the national team since, both at SEA Games 2022 and the First Round of the Asia Cup 2025 Pre-Qualifiers last November.

"I felt a totally different vibe when I was representing the country. The reaction that I got from my family when I won a gold [at the SEA Games for 3x3] was my mom was calling me and she was like -," Morgan started before failing to find the exact words to describe that feeling.

"That was a totally different experience that made me realize that it’s way bigger than me and I was very proud to be able to play at this stage."

The latest to join and add national team experience to his resume was Freddie Lish who first played at SEA Games 2022 before starring in the First Round of the Pre-Qualifiers last November alongside Morgan.

The high-scoring guard unleashed 24.0 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per game while shooting 56.2 percent from the field, 50.0 percent from beyond the arc, and a perfect 100 percent from the charity stripe in Mongolia.

It’s only been a year since the 34-year-old has been putting on the national team jersey, but he’s been loving every moment of it.

"It’s been surreal to be in that type of moment and know that the country is rooting you on!"

Will too many cooks spoil the broth?

The idea of having three talented players as Lamb, Morgan, and Lish sharing the court is enticing, but there’s always a bit of concern until it happens. Will there be enough shots to go around between the three? How will the ball move around?

Everyone else might be concerned, but the Thai trio are convinced they’ll make it work.

"I think we complement each other pretty well," said Morgan. "We all have different playing styles. For me, especially, I can play and play off of them."

"I think the biggest thing for us is that we’ve been playing together for a long time. Tyler and I have known each other for a while, too. I just think the relationship factor plays a part as well, I think we can show what we can do."

"Like Moses said, we’ve been playing together, we know each other," said Lamb in agreement. "We know each other’s games. we know where we score from, where the other ones can get the ball, and where we can work from. Like I said, ultimately it’s been a long time coming. I’m excited to see what we can do."

At the very least, they are all in sync with how they expect to make things happen.

"We all have different styles of play," added Lish. "As long as we can stay humble and stay locked in we should feed off of each other’s game. It gives us more options and will make it harder for defenses just to key in on certain things."

The big picture

Thailand are on the brink of qualifying for the Asia Cup 2025 Pre-Qualifiers after going undefeated in the First Round of the Pre-Qualifiers. They head into the Second Round with a 2-0 record, set to face Guam, Hong Kong, and Singapore.

The main goal is to make it back to the Asia Cup for the first time since 2013, but there’s a bigger picture that these three players have in the back of their minds. They want to succeed as much as possible together, not only for their individual glory but to also put on display the potential of Thailand basketball and inspire the next generation.

"We will keep working hard and hopefully things play out how we want them," said Lish.

"I think that it’d be really big [to qualify for Asia Cup 2025] because it just takes the game of basketball [in Thailand] to another level to play on a totally different stage that hasn’t been done since 2013," added Morgan. "To be able to do it with Tyler, Freddie, and the rest of the guys, that would be very big and would be a very proud moment for us."

"As far as what we can achieve and what we can show, I feel like we can show the future of Thailand just how far basketball can take them," said Lamb, "I feel like there’s still much more work to do but we’re moving forward in the right direction right now."

"For me, this can really show the kids in the future of Thailand how far we can go. I have kids that are Thai, [Moses] has kids that are Thai. Freddie has kids that are Thai. I think this could be the start of something really special if it’s handled the right way."

FIBA