2019 MPL D League Semi Finals Recap (26/5/19)
And so we have it. After eight weeks of action in the MPL Development League (D-League), the competition is now entering the finale stage with two teams having won their rights to compete for the championship.
However unlike the quarter-finals where the underdogs came up tops, normal order was restored in the semi-finals as top seeds KL Dragons and second seed Red Baron Youth both defeated their East Malaysian opponents.
It will be the second straight year the Dragons are through to the finals which will be played in a best-of-three series while Red Baron will be looking to wrest the trophy from them.
Red Baron Youth 81 Kuching Lord Tiger 76
After a walk-off buzzer beater in the quarter-finals, Lord Tiger were brimming with confidence and knew they had a shot going up against Red Baron.
But despite having not played in the D-League since April 27 after they wrapped their regular season early, Red Baron showed that they have been far from being idle in the past month.
One would expect them to show some signs of rustiness but Red Baron have kept themselves busy with training and also competed in a recent invitational competition that was held in Kluang.
And they were sharp from the get-go as they raced to a 14-6 lead before holding out for a 20-17 first quarter lead.
Lord Tiger did a much better job on the defensive end in the second period but they were turning the ball over far too often and it certainly hurt their chances as Red Baron held on for a 34-32 halftime lead.
Some big plays by Chong Chee Hou and Keng Eng Hong had Red Baron edging closer to the finish line as they led 61-57 after the third quarter.
Lord Tiger have shown they are capable of producing a comeback and Maegen Mahadevan put up his best showing all season while Tiong Ing Kun backed it up with some real clutch shooting.
But they just couldn’t find the extra step in the end as Red Baron masterfully held on for the win.
Chee Hou led the scoring for Red Baron including 3-of-3 from three point range for 13 points while Ng Zhen Yu and Goh Yan Qing both finished with 12 points apiece.
For Lord Tiger, Ing Kun had another impressive showing off the bench with 5-12 from downtown for 15 points while Lee Joon Kang put up 12 points and Liew Jun Jie had 11 markers.
It wasn’t enough however and it will be Red Baron who will go ahead to take that spot in the final.
Player of the Game: Chong Chee Hou (13 points, 3 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals)
Winning factor: Red Baron did a superb job marking out Andy Jong from the game. With only 10 points, his lack of production proved costly for Lord Tiger.
KL Dragons 82 Miri Firehorse 57
The Firehorse were on a 5-game streak and were super impressive in the way they dispatched the Westports Malaysia Dragons in the quarter-finals.
Was that enough to stop the KL Dragons? The answer is a resounding no.
The Dragons have been a real class act in sweeping the regular season 10-0 and even without Joshua Gan, who suffered an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury, they didn’t look too troubled against the Firehorse.
They set the tone early as a spurt of scoring by Tan Wei Jie and Low Meng Lek put them up 21-16 in the first period.
Foul trouble soon came calling for the Dragons as first John Wong, then Hung Ing Wai and Chiang Wei Er found themselves staring at three fouls in the second period.
Yet despite all that, the Dragons were still immense on defence as the kept a tight watch on Eddie Wong and John Tang before Wee Yong Gan stepped it up for 12 points in the quarter to give them a 42-25 halftime lead.
It was a rather similar story in the third as Firehorse struggled with the shots while Wei Jie and bench forward Tan Wei Kiat continuously punished them.
With a huge 24 point lead of 64-40 to enter the final period, the Dragons knew they had the win in the bag and gradually pulled the handbrakes as head coach Ee Kee Lip handed out minutes to his bench players.
The bench still managed to finish strongly as the Dragons cemented their status as a team with champions’ material.
Yong Gan once again led the scoring with 22 points while Wei Jie had another high scoring game with 20 points.
The Dragons however had to thank Meng Lek as he demonstrated why he’s named in the D-League Best Five with 10 points and 9 rebounds.
More importantly, the point guard appeared to have bundles of energy as he played a game high 36 minutes and was instrumental in all aspects of the Dragons’ game.
For Firehorse, their biggest downfall was the miserable outing of Eddie who shot 0-6 from the field and only managed 2 points.
John Tang did his part with 13 points while Alvin Lau put up 11 markers to go along with 9 boards.
Its the Dragons however who will be the happier of the two teams as they now look to prepare for the final against Red Baron.
Player of the Game: Low Meng Lek (10 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists)
Bench factor: With the starters in foul trouble, Tan Wei Jie’s 20 points off the bench was huge while Tan Wei Kiat’s 9 points and 9 rebounds was equally impressive.
Original Article Link:-https://dllsports.com/mpl-d-league-semi-finals-recap/