2019 MPL D League Day 19 Recap (19/5/19)
Game Day 19 of the MPL Development League (D-League), the last day of regular season action, still delivered quite an explosive end despite the cast for the playoffs already set. First the KL Dragons completed their sweep of the season with their 10th straight win by beating Kuching Lord Tiger then VAG lit up on the last game by torching GoStrong. It was however more a case of extraordinary scoring by VAG’s Tan Kai Bin who broke the D-League record with 54 points in the game.
KL Dragons 82 Kuching Lord Tiger 54
For one quarter, it looked like Lord Tiger were up to the task of stopping the seemingly unstoppable KL Dragons.
They were aggressive on the defence and chased down the loose balls to frustrate the Dragons while Tiong Ing Kun found his range early as the first period was tied 14-apiece.
But that only served to wake the sleeping Dragons and they duly rose to the challenge with Wee Yong Gan, who went 0-8 from deep in his previous game started to heat up and a spurt of scoring by John Wong gave them a 35-25 halftime lead.
The Dragons lost Joshua Gan early in the third period to a suspected anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury but it only stroked the Dragons’ fire even more.
Tan Wei Jie came off the bench for 8 points in the period and Yong Gan dropped another 7 as the Dragons blasted Lord Tiger 28-14 in the quarter to lead 63-39 entering the final 10 minutes.
There was really no coming back from there and the Dragons with Low Meng Lek expertly controlling the pace, finished strongly for the regular season sweep.
Yong Gan was back to his usual best with 25 points while Wei Jie scored 12 in the final quarter to finish with 20 points. John’s clutch showing in the first half had him on 11 markers and 11 boards for a double-double.
With a 10-0 record, the Dragons will head into the playoffs confidently where they received a bye straight into the semi-finals. They will meet the winners between fourth seeds Westports Malaysia Dragons and fifth seeds Miri Firehorse.
For Lord Tiger, leading scorer Andy Jong found himself heavily shackled but still put up 12 markers while Ing Kun had 10 points and 9 rebounds.
The result means they finished on a 5-5 count and will be the sixth seeds for the playoffs.
Player of the Game: Low Meng Lek (9 points, 8 assists, 6 steals, 3 rebounds)
Injury factor: Joshua’s injury is a bad blow for the Dragons. Fortunately, they have one Tan Wei Jie who can come off the bench to do the work.
VAG 122 GoStrong 65
Well at least both teams had fun.
There was really nothing at stake for these two teams, except for some pride and to avoid being the league’s wooden spoon.
And that surely didn’t stop Tan Kai Bin from making this an extraordinary contest as he put up a scoring fest with an amazing 54 points for a new D-League record of most points scored by a player in a game.
The bulky big man simply had a golden touch on the day as almost everything he touched dropped into the basket.
At one point he was even shooting an amazing 91 percent from the field as his teammates just dished the ball out to him.
GoStrong tried their best to stay in the contest but they were just lacking a fair bit of quality passing and finishing and simply couldn’t hold the line together against a pacy VAG.
Kai Bin would eventually finish with 23-27 shooting from the field including sinking five triples. Scoring aside, he also had a solid stat-line of 17 rebounds, 4 assists and 3 steals.
Kai Bin aside, Lee Kok Loon also had an outstanding game to finish with 10 points and 10 dimes. His 10 handouts was also a new league record, surpassing the previous record tally of 9 assists set by Tong Wen Keong in the 2018 season.
Their combined efforts means VAG finished the season on a 2-8 count in eighth place.
For GoStrong, Johannes Chang led the way with 15 markers and 12 boards while Fauzan Abdul Aziz scored 10 points.
The Subang club however finished the season 0-10 and will take a lot of learning experience home.
Player of the Game: Tan Kai Bin (54 points, 17 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 steals)
Record factor: Kai Bin was in fact just one rebound away from tying the league record for most rebounds in a game.
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