The top seed KL Dragons Basketball Academy defeated the PRG Eagles 90-86 in a pulsating game that went down to the wire.
The Eagles would start quick with a three pointer by Ma Chee Kheun. It would be a cagey affair with both teams not being able to make their shots throughout the first half of the quarter. It would be the Eagles who would use their physical advantage of their big, Anthony McClain who scored four to give them an early 10-2 lead forcing an early timeout by Coach Christopher Thomas.
The Dragons would regain their composure as Addy Tung made a three off the timeout to reduce the deficit. McClain would get his second foul at the 3:04 mark sending him to the bench. This would spark the Dragons on a 12-3 run with a pair of free throws by the 17-year-old Phan Wee Chen giving the Dragons their first lead at the 1:17 mark. The Eagles would regain the lead briefly at the end but a buzzer beater layup by Dragon’s Wan Chee Yuen would tie the quarter 23-23.
The seesaw battle would continue for the second as both teams traded baskets for most of the quarter. Fil Am Kyle Toth would finally score his first three early in the quarter as he looked to get his shooting run going early. The Dragons would finally take the lead at the 6:06 mark off a coast to coast layup by Addy Tung. Eagles American shooter, Patrick Sanders would tie the game for the Eagles with two free throws in the last minute of the quarter before a beautiful spin layup by John Ng gave the Dragons a narrow 45-43 lead at the half.
Canadian Daniel Eves who was having a difficult first half got the Dragons going with a lay up to start the third. The Eagles would have a difficult start to the third with poor shooting and with the Dragons making their shots off smart shot selections, the Dragons would race to an 11 point lead the 6:08 mark off another basket by Eves forcing a timeout called by the Eagles.
A Sanders three straight out of the timeout would cut the lead to eight before. Dragons young upstart Phan Wee Chen would continue his fine form taking charge of the offense scoring five straight points to stretch the Dragons lead to 13. Dragons would sub out their starting line up late in the third, allowing the Eagles to cut the lead to eight again off baskets from Sanders and McClain. The score at the end of the third would be 70-62 in favor of the Dragons.
Foul trouble would be the Dragon’s bane early in the fourth as local big, Foong Ming Joe fouled out early in the quarter. The Dragons would also hit the penalty limit before the midway mark of the fourth. The Dragons lost their composure missing their shots, allowing the Eagles to reduce the deficit to two off another three pointer by Sanders forcing a Dragons timeout with 4:30 to go.
A crucial three pointer by John Ng out of the timeout gave the Dragons some much needed breathing room. The Dragons would be able to stretch their lead to seven off a layup by Wan but the Eagles were relentless in their fightback tying the game at the 1:03 mark off a long jumper by Ryan Liaw. A foul by Sanders on Toth on a three point attempt would send Toth to the line where he would make 2/3 shots. Sanders would then go to the line as he was fouled by Wan but unfortunately for him he would only make one shot still giving the Dragons the lead and possession with 39 seconds to go.
The Dragons would work out a play for Wan to finish but he could not make the layup. Eagles were quick to try to get the basket but a turnover by Sanders would be costly. Eves could only make out of two free throws after being fouled giving the Eagles another chance to win or seal the game.
A key steal by John Ng would get the ball back to the Dragons where Toth would make the two free throws this time giving the Dragons a four point lead. The Eagles managed to score a layup through Liaw before fouling Tung at the five second mark where he would make both free throws to seal the victory, 90-86 in similar fashion as the preliminary round victory over the Eagles.
The Dragons bench stepped up huge tonight, providing balanced scoring with six players in double digits scoring.
The Dragons will meet Farmco Touch Up on Sunday 29th October 2017 to determine the Malaysia Pro League 2017 champions while the Eagles go on to meet Verve Club on the same day to determine the third place.
Player of the Game
Addy Tung Chee Keong might not have had the top statline for the Dragons tonight but his crucial free throws at the end of the game were instrumental in sealing the Dragons’s victory. The 5 ft 5 guard would be a true livewire for the team both on offense and defense with clutch plays on both ends. He would finish with 14 points, nine rebounds and four assists.
Dragons 90: Eves 16, Toth 15, Tung 14, Ng 13, Phan 11, Wan 10, Foong 6, Shadzwan 5
Eagles 86: Sanders 33, McClain 23, Ma 9, Liaw 8, Yiek 6, Yek 5, Tong 2