The Penang Black Panthers began their Sepak Takraw League (STL) Premier title defence in style by making light work out of the Melaka Titans at the Gem In Mall, Cyberjaya, on Friday.
Boasting 2018 Asian Games gold medalists Syahir Rosdi and Azlan Alias in their line-up, the two-time STL Premier champions recorded a 21-12, 21-14 win over last season's STL Division One winners.
The victory also saw the Black Panthers win the Charity Shield and earn a prize money of RM3000, which was later presented to a representative of a religious school based in Penang.
"It was a positive start and the win was due to us showing a high team spirit, with everyone playing his role well, and we hope it will boost us for the remaining matches this week," said Azlan.
The Kuala Lumpur Thunder, last season's STL Premier runners-up, also kicked off the new campaign with a win by defeating the Johor Tigris (21-18, 21-14).
Also winning 2-0 on the opening day were the Terengganu Turtles, who secured a 21-19, 21-16 victory over the Selangor Pistons.
With the title favourites winning their respective opening matches, the surprise of the day was arguably newly promoted side PDRM Defenders clinching a hard fought 2-1 victory against the Kelantan Warriors.
The 2017 Division One runners-up, consisting of Izzat Zainal, Syafiq Rahman and Hafiz Wahab, took the first set 21-18 before losing the second set 14-21.
The third set went past the 21-point mark but the Defenders held the nerves to win 23-21.
2018 STL Premier Round One results
PDRM Defenders beat Kelantan Warriors [2-1 : 21-18, 14-21, 23-21]
KL Thunder beat Johor Tigris [2-0 : 21-18, 21-14]
Penang Black Panthers beat Melaka Titans [2-0 : 21-12, 21-14]
Terengganu Turtles beat Selangor Pistons [2-0 : 21-19, 21-16]