2019 MPL D League Day 14 Recap
The MPL Development League (D-League) is heating up in the chase for playoff spots and the action is getting more intense by the day. Game Day 14 sees the Westports Malaysia Dragons all but seal their spot in the knockouts but the big result on the day was Miri Firehorse staging a sensational comeback to beat Kuching Lord Tiger and keep their playoff hopes alive.
Westports Malaysia Dragons 72 VAG 61
Both teams needed a win for respective reasons. The Dragons were looking to seal their playoff spot and not get dragged into a late scramble while VAG badly needed a win to spark their campaign.
There was however no spark in the first period as both teams struggled to hit shots with the Dragons just narrowly leading 10-9.
They got better as the game wore on but VAG have shown some dogged performances of late and they kept within striking distance of 28-23 at the halftime break.
It was however a different story after the break as the Dragons ramped up to second gear, putting up a big scoring act as they built up a comfortable 21-point lead after the third period.
But they couldn’t close as well as they would’ve liked as VAG outscored them 22-10 in the fourth period.
There was however no turnaround for VAG as the Dragons got the breaks in the closing seconds to hold off for the win.
Leong Kar Fatt led the scoring with 15 points but it was captain Tan Wei Long with the big plays to finish with yet another double-double of 13 points and 14 rebounds.
The win also pretty much secured the Dragons’ progress into the knockout rounds with one game to spare – against Speed Hunters on May 18.
VAG finished with Seow Young Lii getting double-double figures of 15 points and 10 boards but the result is a hammer blow to their playoff hopes as they now slump to 1-6 for the season.
Player of the Game: Tan Wei Long (13 points, 14 rebounds, 5 assists, 5 steals)
Veteran smarts: Dragons have relied heavily on elder statesmen Wei Long and Leong Kar Fatt and the pair proved to be ‘Realiable Brothers’ on the day.
Livestats Link:- https://www.fibalivestats.com/u/MABA/1123056/
Miri Firehorse 89 Kuching Lord Tiger 75
It’s another sensational showing for Firehorse as they staged the finest comeback of the league this season to keep their playoff hopes very much alive.
With a 2-5 record to boot, the Firehorse went into the ‘Sarawak Derby’ knowing they needed no less than a win to stay alive in the chase for a spot in the knockout rounds.
But they were slow off the burners as Lord Tiger, with main scorer Andy Jong firing on all cylinders, pressed their advantage to lead 48-40 at halftime and went on a 14-2 run to lead 62-42 after just two and a half minutes in the third period.
That jolted the Firehorse from their slumber and they mounted their comeback with less than 5 minutes in the quarter, going on a 17-6 run to end the period trailing just 65-68.
The intense pressure, especially with John Tang torching his opponents with quick release shots, truly rattled Lord Tiger and their offensc completely disintegrated in the final period.
With John on fire, the defence of the Firehorse also went to work as the trio of Alvin Lau, Josh Wong and veteran Yiek Chai Teck all stepped up to limit Lord Tiger to just 7 points in the quarter and they sealed a sensational come-from-behind 14-point victory.
John enjoyed his finest outing in the league this season as he exploded for 31 points on 7-11 from three point shooting.
Old men Wee Chuan Chin and Chai Teck had 16 and 15 markers respectively while Josh and Alvin both grabbed 10 points apiece.
For Lord Tiger, Andy fizzled out after a fine start to finish with 18 points while Tan Wei Nkun finished with 12 points.
The win had big implications for Firehorse’s playoff aspirations as they are now 3-5 and have two more matches – against struggling VAG and GoStrong – to complete their regular season fixtures.
Lord Tiger on the other hand fall to 1-4 for the season and are fast falling behind in the playoff race.
Player of the Game: John Tang (31 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists)
Stat factor: John is only the third player to shoot a league-tying record of 7 triples this season.