2019 MPL D League Day 17 Recap (17/5/19)
Game Day 17 of the MPL Development League (D-League) sees two more teams seal their ticket to the playoffs, thus confirming the cast for the knockout rounds. It is Titijaya who progressed as they finally regained their form to trounce Speed Hunters whilst Kuching Lord Tiger kept their winning streak going to take the last spot in the playoffs.
Titijaya 89 Speed Hunters 50
This was the match which would decide the fate of both teams. And it was Titijaya who were up to the task while Speed Hunters collapsed miserably.
With a 3-5 record prior to the game, Speed Hunters knew they needed a win at all costs in order to keep their slim hopes of qualifying for the playoffs.
And they got off to a decent start as they went up 16-10 in the first period before holding out for a 16-15 lead.
Titijaya, who have looked disjointed of late, however adjusted well to the game and tightened up at the back with the big men pair of Kwan Jo Ee and Wong Hon Ming, and later Chuk Wai Hong, manning the rim well against Speed Hunters’ smaller bodies.
With a solid defence behind them, Titijaya then broke away as they limited Speed Hunters to only 8 markers in the second quarter for a 35-24 halftime lead.
Speed Hunter kept themselves within reach for much of the third period but a good showing but Tan Goh Jiar Yang against the run of play ensured Titijaya continued to push ahead 54-41.
And when the going got tough, Speed Hunters just couldn’t handle the pressure as they completely crumbled in the fourth period to allow Titijaya to run away with a very comfortable margin.
Syahrul Ridzuan Rosli would lead all scorers with yet another double-double of 23 points and 10 rebounds while youngster Jiar Yang enjoyed his best outing of the season with 16 points from 6-10 shooting.
The win would improve Titijaya’s record to 6-3 for the season and they sealed their spot in their playoffs and now have a shot at taking the No. 2 seed.
Meanwhile it is a woeful finish for Speed Hunters with no players in double digits. They now have a 3-6 record and are officially eliminated from the race to the playoffs.
Player of the Game: Tan Goh Jiar Yang (16 points)
Playoff factor: Titijaya now can steal the No. 2 seed for the playoffs if they can take down KL Dragons in their final regular season game.
Kuching Lord Tiger 107 VAG 69
With Titijaya beating Speed Hunters, it became much easier task for Lord Tiger to march into the playoffs as all they needed to do was get one win from their remaining three matches.
And the Sarawakians duly got the job done on the first attempt as they exploded in a scoring fest against VAG.
Complacency appeared to have kicked in early as Lord Tiger were not running good offensive sets as they ended the first period tied 19-all.
But they stopped messing around after that and stepped it up a notch with Lee Joon Kang running point to lead 44-26 at halftime.
VAG tried to get themselves back into the game to salvage some pride with Tan Kai Bin putting up a solid display.
But red-hot shooting by Tiong Ing Kun and Khong Zhen Hui kept Lord Tiger comfortably in the lead at 73-50 after the third period.
Joon Kang continued to impress going into the final period as Lord Tiger made sure to take the win in convincing fashion.
The 38-point win would also be their biggest win of the season to date and they are brimming with confidence with their third straight win.
Joon Kang would deliver a perfect performance as he finished with 18 points, 6 assists and 2 rebounds. The backcourt general’s performance was made even better as he did not concede a single turnover in 23 minutes of action.
Zhen Hui also enjoyed a breakout performance with 18 points off 9-11 shooting while Ing Kun continued his excellent form to finish with 17 markers.
The win improved Lord Tiger’s record to 4-4 with two games left to play but they cannot be overtaken by Speed Hunters as they have a better head-to-head record.
For VAG, Kai Bin put up a double-double showing of 17 points and 11 boards while Tan Kim Yeow had 10 markers to go along with 7 rebounds.
Player of the Game: Lee Joon Kang (18 points, 6 assists, 2 rebounds)
Tiger factor: After primarily serving as a distributor in their previous games, Joon Kang showed he’s no slouch in shooting the ball as well.
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