2019 MPL D League Day 12 Recap (27/4/19)
Game Day 12 of the MPL Development League (D-League) was the Day of the Dragons as both the KL Dragons and Westports Malaysia Dragons picked up well deserved wins. The KLD took down Red Baron Youth in a top of the table clash while the Westports Dragons inched closer to the playoffs with a fine win over Miri Firehorse.
KL Dragons 67 Red Baron Youth 65
It’s the top of the table clash that everyone has been waiting for. The KL Dragons have looked like an unstoppable force of nature while Red Baron have been un-flashy but solid otherwise.
But more importantly, there was a lot of bragging rights and pride at stake, especially for the Dragons who are looking to extend their status as the only unbeaten team in the league.
And they certainly came out firing as they piled some early misery on Red Baron, who were still smarting from a shock defeat to the Westports Dragons on Game Day 11.
Red Baron did get themselves back into contention in the second period with some good hustle by Lee Jia Jun but a quick return by Wee Yong Gan saw the Dragons hold on to a 37-31 lead at halftime.
And they continued to press their advantage after the break as they built a lead as big as 16 points before easing back for a 58-45 lead by the end of the third period.
It almost proved costly as Red Baron started to get heated up and some fine play by Yap Zhi Wei and Wong Thiam Mun had them close the gap to two before Ng Zhen Yu leveled the game for them by converting a tough layup under pressure.
It looked to be heading for overtime with both teams locked at 65-all before Hung Ing Wai won the game for the Dragons with a sweet finish off a Thea Zhong Shin pass.
The big man even followed up by grabbing the next three successive rebounds for the Dragons to complete the win.
Yong Gan who was 3-12 from three point range still top-scored for the KLD with 23 points while Ing Wai put in a splendid shift with 15 points and 8 rebounds.
Red Baron were paced by Ng Zhen Yu with 11 and Zhi Wei with 10 markers.
The win ensured the KLD stay strong with a 7-0 record while Red Baron end their regular season with a 7-3 count and will sweat to see if they finish in a top two seeding.
Player of the Game: Hung Ing Wai (15 points, 8 rebounds)
Crowd-awe moment: Yap Zhi Wei’s thunderous block on Chiang Wei Er in the closing seconds.
Westports Malaysia Dragons 64 Miri Firehorse 54
Could the Westports Dragons finally be picking up form and consistency?
It certainly looked that way as they backed up an impressive win over Red Baron by denying the Firehorse a much needed win.
The Dragons were oozing confidence and Leong Kar Fatt continued his hot hand as he kept the team ahead 18-8 in the first period.
Firehorse improved considerably in the second period as big shots by Ignatius Hii and veteran Wee Chuan Chin kept them in the game as they only trailed 28-29 at halftime.
The Sarawakians did push ahead momentarily after the break but the Dragons started to move into second gear to lead 46-39.
There was really no coming back as the Dragons proceeded to stand firm in the face of late Firehorse onslaught to grab a comfortable 10-point win.
Kar Fatt once again made the difference for the Dragons as he top-scored with 23 points while Tan Wei Long had an excellent shift to finish with a double-double of 13 points and 12 rebounds.
The Firehorse were paced by veteran Wee Chuan Chin who showed his abilities with 18 markers.
The big downfall for the Firehorse was however team top scorer Eddie Wong who was incredibly subdued and only finished with 5 points on 1-7 shooting from range.
The win improved the Dragons’ record to 5-2 for the season and they are now in a good position to qualify for the playoffs.
Firehorse on the other hand slumped to 1-5 and have their backs against the wall in order to reach the playoffs.
Player of the Game: Leong Kar Fatt (23 points, 4 steals, 3 rebounds)
Misery moment: Eddie Wong shooting 2-10 and only scoring 1-of-7 three point attempts.
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