2019 MPL D League Day 18 Recap – 18/5/19
We’ve finally gotten to the penultimate game day of the MPL Development League (D-League). It’s been a rather long season to say the least and Game Day 18 sorts out some of the seedings for the playoffs. The KL Dragons cemented their top seed status with a roving win over Titijaya while Red Baron Youth were the biggest benefactors as they claimed the No.2 seed despite wrapping up their fixtures since Game Day 12.
Speed Hunters 65 Westports Malaysia Dragons 56
After losing the ‘win-or-go-home’ match against Titijaya on Game Day 17, the Speed Hunters finally seemed a bit more relaxed as they showed up to spoil the party for the Westports Dragons.
The Dragons had a simple task – win the game to give themselves a shot at taking the No.2 seed for the playoffs.
But they choked when it mattered as they got off to the worst possible start by allowing Speed Hunters to shoot ahead 21-12.
Goh Cheng Huat’s team kept the intensity high and frustrated the Dragons repeatedly as they continued to lead 33-22 at halftime.
The Dragons did forced themselves back into contention as some fine play by Tan Wei Long saw them trail by just two points heading into the final period.
But they collapsed when it mattered most as Speed Hunters stood strong to claim a fine win and snap a four-game losing streak.
Without any standout offensive plays, it was Yeong Hi Yih who led the scoring for Speed Hunters with 12 points while the trio of Chong Koon Wei, Kong Jun Quan and Phang Yoon Khong all finished with 8 markers apiece.
Yoon Khong also did the dirty work as he grabbed 8 boards to pick up his first Player of the Game award as Speed Hunters ended their season on a 4-6 record.
Meanwhile the Dragons were led by Tan Wei Long with yet another double-double of 19 points and 14 rebounds while Phan Ji Feng put up 10 points.
But its a poor return for the Dragons as they dropped to 6-4 and missed out on a chance to claim the No.2 seed.
Player of the Game: Phang Yoon Khong (8 points, 8 rebounds)
Seeding factor: Instead of taking the No.2 seed, the Dragons have shot themselves in the foot and are likely to finish as fourth seeds with the prospects of meeting top seeds KL Dragons in the semi-finals.
KL Dragons 72 Titijaya 59
Even if the KL Dragons were not their usual fluid attacking self, they still knew how to close out matches.
And they were emphatic enough in putting the dagger in Titijaya’s hopes of taking the No.2 seeds with a convincing win.
The first quarter was slow and scrappy as Titijaya led by as much as 5 before the Dragons, playing for the first time since Game Day 13, took charge to end the quarter leading 18-14.
The second quarter was one-way traffic as the Dragons forced turnovers from Titijaya, limiting them to just 7 points to lead 36-21 at halftime.
They continued to push as Titijaya’s main offensive players – Syahrul Ridzuan Rosli and Kwan Jo Ee – struggled to impose themselves in the game.
Titijaya did outscore their opponents in the final quarter but the damage was long done as the Dragons did well on their rotation work to halt any sort of momentum.
Chiang Wei Er and Joshua Gan who both started from the bench, finished with 13 and 12 points respectively while the league leading scorer Wee Yong Gan had an off day shooting 0-8 from three point range but still managed 10 markers.
The Dragons improved to 9-0 and are looking good to end the regular season on a perfect record.
For Titijaya, Syahrul came alive in the fourth period to finish with 13 points while Soong Kah An had a 12 point showing. The pair o Jo Ee and Tan Goh Jiar Yang both chipped in with 10 points each.
The defeat means Titijaya’s hopes of taking the No.2 seed are down the drain as they are now likely to finish as third seeds instead.
Player of the Game: Joshua Gan (12 points, 7 rebounds)
Seeding factor: Titijaya’s defeat and the Westports Dragons’ inability to beat Speed Hunters means Red Baron will sneak in for the No.2 seed.
Kuching Lord Tiger 119 GoStrong 33
Lord Tiger have already qualified for the playoffs and were just playing for a better seed for the the playoffs.
But they certainly showed no signs of complacency as they gave GoStrong a real hammering – the 119-33 (86 points) beating is a new league record for the biggest margin win, eclipsing the 133-49 trouncing that the KL Dragons dished out to GoStrong on Game Day 6.
In fact, Andy Jong took it upon himself to set the pace as he scored 10 straight points right from the go as Lord Tiger went on a 17-3 run before ending the first quarter with a booming 32-10 lead.
And GoStrong went to pieces after that as they only scored 4 points in the second period and gave out 37 to Lord Tiger as the lead swelled to 69-14 at halftime.
Lord Tiger were taking turns to have a go at the basket and despite GoStrong’s best efforts in the third period, it was never enough as the lead 73-14 at one point before the period ended on a 91-28 score.
The Sarawakians gave just five more points to GoStrong in the fourth quarter before head coach Yong Kian Ann pulled the handbrakes on his team.
Andy would still lead all scorers with 22 points with 9-13 shooting from the field.
Five other Lord Tiger players would get into double figures with Desmond Liew (16), Khong Zhen Hui (14), Tiong Ing Kun (12), Khoo Yik Hock (12) and Liiew Jun Jie (10) all making it a look like a practice session.
Lord Tiger are now up to 5-4 for the season and they will wrap up their fixtures against the KL Dragons on Game Day 19..
Due to rules of the league, GoStrong, despite suffering blowouts throughout the season, still have a chance to avoid being the wooden spoon if they beat VAG in their final game.
Player of the Game: Khong Zhen Hui (14 points, 7 rebounds, 4 assists)
Playoff factor: Lord Tiger could finish as fourth seeds if they do the unthinkable by beating KL Dragons or they could just drop to sixth if nothing out of the extraordinary happens.
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