The PRG Eagles picked up their first victory of the 2017 Malaysia Pro League in dominating fashion with a 126-56 victory over the young Penang Stallions.
The PRG Eagles were looking to finally get a win after losing their first two games, while the Penang Stallions were looking to ride the momentum after their victory last Saturday to pick up their second win of MPL 2017.
The Eagles started Patrick Sanders, their new American import who replaced Shelton Boykin after he suffered a bout of food poisoning. The Eagles opted to rest key locals, Choo Wei Hong, Chin Zhi Shin, Yiek Chai Teck, and Tong Weng Keong. The Stallions were debuting 18 year old prospect Adrian Nonis, winner of the 2017 ASEAN Top Baller competition.
The first quarter was fast paced with both teams finding their shooting strokes early with the Eagles shooting 57% and Stallions 55%. The teams combined for a total of 11 three pointers in the quarter .The quarter started with the Eagles using Anthony McClain’s height advantage to get an easy basket inside which was quickly answered by a jumper from Jayson Lee, tying the game.
It would be a back and forth start with the teams trading leads early on. Nonis checked in at the 6:18 mark, making his national league debut and made his presence felt with a 3 pointer giving the Stallions a 24-20 lead midway in the first. This would spark the Eagles as they went on an 11-0 run with 3-pointers coming from Ma Chee Kheun, Heng Yee Tong, and Patrick Sanders. A three pointer from Filipino Jhapz Bautista and a free throw from his Filipino compatriot, Dexter Zamora, would cut the deficit for the Stallions. The first quarter ended with a score of 31-28 in favor of the Eagles.
The Eagles started the second quarter hot with an 8-0 run which was sparked by a three pointer from Heng before a Jayson Lee jumper broke the run. The Eagles would begin to utilize their experience and size against the younger Stallions, led by their imports Sanders, who scored 11 points and McClain adding eight. The Stallions could not break through the tight zone defense and opted for many difficult shots, only managing to score only 12 points in the quarter. Thea Zhong Shin closed the quarter for the Eagles with a jumper, giving his team a 64-40 lead at the half.
The third quarter began in a similar fashion with McClain making his presence felt inside with an easy 2-point bucket. Two back to back baskets by young Stallions big Ong Wen Hong chipped the deficit away to 22. This would be the closest the Stallions would get. The Eagles did not let up and used their superior size and experience to extend the lead, led by Sanders who made two more 3-pointers, giving them a 40 point lead midway through the third.
The Eagles and Stallions both took out their imports late in the third as the game’s conclusion seemed done by then. The Eagles did not let up though and employed a late full court press, not allowing the young Stallions an opportunity to break through . The Eagles ended the quarter on a 23-3 run with Heng making two free throws to end the quarter 100-49 to the Eagles.
The fourth quarter saw both teams utilize bench players who saw less minutes in the previous games. The Eagles’ locals experience once again took over as the Stallions young players were unable to break through the stifling full court press again. The Stallions were only able to get their first basket of the fourth quarter at the 4:23 mark with an inside basket by Wen Hong. Wong Ker Jing led the Eagles with eight points in the fourth as they finished the game in dominating fashion 126-56. Everyone on the Eagles team finished with points.
The poor shooting of the Stallions (29%) and lack of height caused them to be outrebounded 33-62. The youngsters were overpowered by the more senior Eagles who won the game with 52% shooting, making 18 three pointers (including 8 from Sanders).
Player of the Game
Patrick Sanders led the Eagles with 26 points, going 8-11 from three in only 20 minutes of play. Despite this being his first game of the MPL, Sanders did not look out of sync and had good chemistry with his teammates, finishing with a stat line of 26 points, nine rebounds, and five assists.
Eagles 126: Sanders 26, McClain 21, Heng 16, Ma 12, Liaw 10, Law 9 , Wong 8, Yek 7, Ong 6, Thea 5, Yim 4, Ing 2
Stallions 56: Bautista 12, Zamora 11, Ong 9, J.Lee 8, Lim 7, Nonis 5, Khoo 2, Neoh 2