The Melaka 96ers are one of the newly (2018) formed teams to compete in Malaysia Pro League (MPL) D-League and this is the first time they are competing in any league.
Team owner Datuk Wira Tan Kang Yong JP says that these local leagues like MPL and its D-league is the spark of a better basketball community locally and all over the country.
The team is formed between young raw talents and basketball veterans and team manager Loh Sing Wei says it is with this way that they intend to develop these young players.
“We have a few key players to help with guiding the team during game time. This might be a whole new playing field for some of our younger players so I think it’ll be helpful to have some experienced ones on the floor with them.”
Speaking of experience, their Head Coach, Nathaniel Gregorio from Philippines have been coaching for 10 years – 4 of which has been with the Malacca state team (since 2014).
According to Loh, the team has recently signed a 2-year contract with the coach starting with this MPLD season. They’re looking forward to sending another team for Malaysia Pro League and Agong Cup 2018.
With Coach Nathaniel, Malacca’s state team were champions once (2014), 3rd place (2015) and 1st runner up (2016 and 2017) in the Agong Cup.
Loh explains that one of the reasons behind the formation of the team is to prepare their SUKMA players (in the SUKMA selection pool).
“We have 10 players that are in the SUKMA selection pool and we want to get them ready for the event in September – that is our major objective in this D-League.”
“On top of that, we will be using this league to scout young talents that would fit well in our upper division leagues like the Agong Cup.”