MPLD 2019 MPL D League Finals Game 3 Recap- Red Baron Youth are the champions!

2019 MPL D League Finals Game 3 Recap- Red Baron Youth are the champions!

In true underdog fashion, the Red Baron Youth have emerged as the 2019 MPL Development League (D-League) champions after seeing off the much favoured KL Dragons in the winner-takes-all Game 3 of the Finals.

There was no shortage of drama as well as Red Baron took the game into overtime courtesy of last-gasp attempt by the brilliant Ng Zhen Yu before overpowering the Dragons in the clutch for a 68-62 win.

It is almost a Cinderella story for Red Baron as their team of misfits and discards from others were never given a rat’s chance to trouble superstar-laden Dragons much less win the trophy.

The Finals series had certainly started that way after the Dragons had blasted their way to a 78-56 win in Game 1.

Red Baron had however put up a defensive masterclass in taking down Game 2 84-73 to set up the the much anticipated Game 3.

The first quarter was a choppy one to start as both teams were getting their feelers in and were struggling to get their shots to drop.

Red Baron were also getting themselves into a bit of foul trouble early but they still ended the period tied 13-all as the Dragons could only net three open play baskets.

Dragons’ Key enters the combo

Having been restricted to his worst showing in the league in Game 2, the onus was on Wee Yong Gan to make a strong comeback in Game 3.

And the league leading scorer finally exploded once again as he found the space to shake off his defenders.

Having already sank a three pointer to start in the first quarter, Yong Gan’s eagle eye proved to be the difference maker in the second quarter as the Dragons found openings for their marksman.

The Melakan showed that its just really hard to keep him on lockdown forever as his fluid movement had him dropping two more long bombs as he took charge of the second quarter with 12 points.

The Dragons also had John Wong to thank as the big-game player continued to impress on the defensive end, racking up 12 rebounds and 2 steals by the end of the quarter as the Dragons went up 35-24 at halftime.

Red Baron however knew they were far from being done and Yap Zhi Wei came off the bench to provide some good hustle as they attempted to close the gap.

Both teams were however still having trouble connecting with their shots but a late finish by Zhen Yu meant that Red Baron only trailed by 8 points entering the final quarter.

The Lock shines in clutch time

Having made the last basket for Red Baron, Zhen Yu had certainly revitalised his team and they were on the upward momentum swing.

A quick three pointer by Lee Jia Jun brought the lead down to 7 and they put the brakes on the Dragons for the next two minutes as shots bounced off.

Yong Gan put the Dragons back up by 8 with a long range shot for 53-45 but Zhen Yu and Ng Cheng Toong kept them in check for the large parts of the game.

A big three pointer by Keng Eng Hong brought Red Baron to 50-53 before Thea Zhong Shin finished a strong move for a 55-50 lead.

The Dragons were however showing signs of cracking and Chan Yew Thung scored three of four free throw attempts to bring the scoreline to 53-55.

A bad turnover by the usually reliable Low Meng Lek had the ball in Red Baron’s hands with 19.1 seconds left on the clock and up came Zhen Yu with his late heroics once again.

Receiving the ball from the top of the key, he dribbled past two players to the baseline before sinking a tough jumper with 5.1 seconds remaining.

The Dragons were unable to gain anything in the remaining seconds and the game went into overtime.

And that is where the undefeated team from the regular season crumbled as Red Baron, with Zhi Wei stepping up big with 8 points, sensationally clinched the win.

Player of the Game: Yap Zhi Wei (17 points, 12 rebounds)
Finals MVP: Ng Zhen Yu. There can be no other. The defensive lock proved that defence wins championships after his masterful shutting down of the Dragons’ scorers and doing his bit on offence too.


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