2019 MPL D League Day 9 Recap (14/4/19)
Game Day 9 was no doubt the most exciting day of matches in the MPL Development League (D-League) to date. There was Titijaya coming out big to deal Red Baron Youth with their first defeat of the season while the KL Dragons and Speed Hunters played a match that was akin to the finals.
Titijaya 65 Red Baron Youth 53
This was an interesting matchup. Red Baron are on a great run coming into the match, 6-0 and top of the table.
Titijaya on the other hand have shown that they can pick up the results when they need to. And more importantly, they were hungry to avenge an earlier 45-47 defeat to Red Baron a few weeks earlier.
And they showed their determination early as their main men Syahrul Rosli Ridzuan and veteran gunner Ho Yeow Loong put them up 15-5 before Red Baron reeled them back in to lead 22-21 at the first period.
That was about as explosive the match could get it soon descended into a physical battle and a game of turnovers.
TItijaya were however winning the bigger points and hitting Red Baron when it hurts most and they slowly inched ahead.
They were also doing an excellent job of clamping down Red Baron’s offence, even limiting them to a paltry 7 points in the third quarter.
Syahrul was doing all the running and the damage and he was such an efficient player that Red Baron were running low on ideas to stop.
They designated two-men to chase him out of the game but the 1.84m all-rounder was simply unstoppable once he got into the mood as Titijaya eventually ran out winners to dish out Red Baron’s first loss of the campaign.
Syahrul’s all action display saw him top it off with 17 points, 9 rebounds and 6 assists while the 30-year-old Yeow Loong finished with 11 markers and 5 boards..
Red Baron who played one of the worst offensive game, had Wong Mun Hin with 11 points and Yap Zhi Wei with 10.
Player of the Game: Syahrul Ridzuan Rosli, duh (17 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists)
Paint factor: Titijaya did most of their damage inside with 42 points coming from the paint.
Livestats :- https://www.fibalivestats.com/u/MABA/1123033/
Westports Malaysia Dragons 56 GoStrong 51
Poor GoStrong. They just can’t seem to buy themselves a win at this point.
With the Westports Dragons barely firing on all cylinders, this was a chance for GoStrong to nick a game and get on the board.
They started strongly but the Dragons clawed their way back in with excellent big man display from the big man Lim Wei.
It turned in a see-saw battle after the opening exchange but it looked like the Dragons would very much run away with it having built up a 12-point lead at point.
But old habits die hard and the Dragons’ have a terrible knack of letting opponents back into the game and that’s just what they did.
A better opposition would have put the Dragons to the sword.
But GoStrong just lacked the quality in options and some general basketball smarts as they seemed to have given up on the ball game before they actually knew they could comeback.
It wasn’t until some frantic yelling by head coach Izzat Nasruddin on the sidelines that GoStrong snapped back into action.
But it was too late by then and despite a nervy closing, it was the Dragons who took home a 5-point win.
Lim Wei led the Dragons with 11 big points and 10 rebounds while captain Tan Wei Long put in 11 markers as well.
For GoStrong, Rais Davin Beg was by far their best player finishing with 10 points and 6 boards.
Player of the Game: Lim Wei (11 points, 10 rebounds)
Free throw factor: Both teams need serious work on free throws. Dragons were 9-22 from the line while GoStrong were 6-14. Nonsensical stat line.
Livestats :- https://www.fibalivestats.com/u/MABA/1123043/
Was this the final? It sure felt like it was.
The Dragons-Speed Hunters match had everything.. Hot shooting, fast paced action, physical contact, drama and some blood-boiling moments from both coaches.
The Dragons are by far and large, the best team with the best players in the league. There is really no stopping them once they get into their shooting zone.
And they know it too, running some smooth plays early on as they dropped successive long bombs to build up a healthy 23-4 lead.
Then they went to sleep. A moment of complacency that truly would have cost them as Speed Hunters played like men possessed, going on an incredible 12-0 run as they ended the first quarter trailing just 23-28.
After the explosive start, the game settled down a bit more but the drama intensified with both Goh Cheng Huat and Ee Kee Lip having their moments.
The Dragons though, were still leading and were in good stead for the win and were slowly inching towards the finishing line.
A final burst of action in the fourth period, led by the nippy Yeong Hi Yih and captain Choong Koon Wei nearly turned the tie around for Speed Hunters.
Fortunately, the Dragons just about rode their luck against the momentum as they held on for the win.
Chiang Wei Er had a game high 25 points while league top scorer Wee Yong Gan also fired in 19 points for the Dragons, including 5 from range.
The pair of Joshua Gan and Thea Zhong Shin also made double figures with 12 and 11 points respectively before both fouling out of the match.
For the Speed Hunters, Hi Yih dropped 14 markers to go along with another whooping 8 steals while Gan Zhi Ying finished with 11 markers and 8 boards.
Player of the Game: Chiang Wei Er (25 points, 7 rebounds)
Dragons factor: Teams should really study how the Speed Hunters close out the Dragons. If there’s a way to stop them, this is pretty much it.