The freshly minted Malaysia Pro League (MPL) tips off on the 13th of October 2017, after a four year absence of a national level Malaysian basketball league. The last league was known as the Malaysian National Basketball League (MNBL). MPL management has emphasized that this year’s edition will be a trial as the league looks to set a foundation for a longer competition in 2018.
The MPL will run for a span of three consecutive weekends with the final game culminating on the 29th of October. Six teams (one guest team from the Philippines) will be participating with the top two automatically qualifying for the semi-finals while the remaining four will play one-off elimination games to determine the final two semi-finalists. Each team will be allowed to name up to 16 players for their season roster, two of which being import players.
With a fresh new slate for the Malaysian basketball scene, the possibilities are endless as to the outcome of which team will ultimately raise the trophy come the 29th of October.
You can find more information and details on the league at their facebook page.
FARMCO TOUCH UP
Farmco Touch Up, formed in 2007, is no stranger to the Malaysian basketball scene .Their biggest achievement came in 2012 when they defeated the more fancied KL Dragons to clinch the Malaysian National Basketball League (MNBL). With a core group of current and former national team players, some of whom have been playing together for 10 years, Farmco will be one of the teams that possesses a top-tier level of chemistry between players.
The roster includes one current national team player in Wong Chin Yong and four former ASEAN Basketball League KL Dragons players in Ooi Ban Sin, Guganeswaran Batumalai, Alex Yoew Kee Aik and Koh Way Tek.
They will be led by their Filipino Head Coach, Antolin Zamar Jr, who was also the head coach during the 2013 MNBL.
Ooi Ban Sin
The captain, Ban Sin is a veteran point guard with a strong overall offensive game with the ability to take the ball to the rim as well as light it up from the outside. He is able to bring a calming presence to any team he’s on with his veteran savviness in controlling the pace of a game. Ban Sin is well known to be the face of the Farmco Touch Up organization and has represented Malaysia at multiple FIBA Asia Championships.
Low Ken Yen
At only 18, Ken Yen was part of the Malaysia Team that defeated the Philippines at this year’s FIBA Asia 3×3 U18 Championship. He was named MVP of the recent U17 National Championship and with his quick speed and hot shooting from the outside, he could be an X factor for Farmco in their quest for the championship. Don’t be surprised to see multiple dunks by the athletic Ken Yen during the tournament.
Kuete is the resident import of Farmco Touch Up, having a long history with the organization. The 6 ft 5 swingman from Cameroon was an import for the 2011 ASEAN Basketball League Champions, the Chang Thailand Slammers and to date, is the only non-American world import to win the ABL.
The 7 ft 5 center from Malta is listed as the 4th tallest professional basketball player in the world. He was named as the best center in the latest Thailand Basketball League (TBL) season, playing for PEA.
The PRG Eagles have established a new partnership between two teams that participated in the last MNBL, the Kelantan Warriors (defending champions) and the Bintulu Eagles. PRG is the parent company of the Kelantan Warriors’ owner, hence the new name of PRG Eagles.
Somewhat being defending champions, the PRG Eagles have gathered together a strong lineup of six current national team players in Ma Chee Khuen, Chin Zhi Sin, Choo Wei Hong, Ryan Liaw Chee Huei, Heng Yee Tong, and Ong Wei Yong who all represented Malaysia in international competitions this year.
Other notable names on the team are Yim Shen Hao and Tong Weng Keong, both formerly playing in the ABL with the KL Dragons. The PRG Eagles have expressed an interest in making the partnership permanent and establishing themselves as one of the top clubs of Malaysian basketball
They will be led by Filipino coach Britt Carlo Reroma, formerly the chief strategist of the San Beda Red Cubs in NCAA Philippines.
Ma Chee Khuen
An ABL Champion in 2016, Ma is a speedy combo guard known for his persistent perimeter defense and 3-point shooting including a recent 12 point (4-8 3PM-3PA) game against Vietnam at the SEA Games and a highlight performance for him. Injuries prevented him from getting more minutes at the SEA Games but with his veteran experience, look to him to be a key man for the PRG Eagles.
Heng Yee Tong
A 19 year old who caught the attention of the Filipino media at the recent 2017 SEABA Championships with his similar gameplay and style to Terrence Romeo, he earned the moniker of the ‘Malaysian Terrence Romeo.’ Also the MVP of the FIBA Asia 3×3 U18 Championship in 2016, Tong is a crafty point guard who has shown a mature gameplay beyond his age.
The 6 ft 10 graduate from Cincinnati is no stranger to ASEAN basketball, playing as the import for Mono Vampire (Thailand) in the 2015/16 season and recently helping his team, Mono Thewpaingarm, to a 3rd place finish in the TBL. He averaged 14.1 PPG and 10.5 RPG in 23.1 MPG.
A 6 ft 6 swingman who graduated from Angelo St (NCAA Division II) in 2016, averaging 13.4 PPG and shooting 45% from beyond the arc. His most recent team was Cangrejeros in Venezuela.
Straight out of Kampar (Around 90 minutes away from Kuala Lumpur), Verve Club are a brand new team to the Malaysian basketball scene. Basketball in Malaysia is very actively played in the local outskirt communities and Verve Club looks to provide opportunities for players active in the scene outside Kuala Lumpur an opportunity to showcase their talents at the national level.
With an average age of 23, Verve Club will be one of the youngest teams in the tournament.
They will be coached by Malaysian coach, Loh Chee Ming.
Wee Chuan Chin
A former national team and KL Dragons player, he is veteran guard who is an expert at transition offense. Look for him to lead Verve Club in earning numerous fast break points.
Tan Wei Jie
At age 20, he was one of four Malaysians sent to train at the United States Basketball Academy in Oregon for a training stint in 2015. Tan Wei Jie was also one of Malaysia’s top performers at the FIBA Asia U16 Championship in 2013 where he averaged 10.2 PPG leading Malaysia to a best ever, 9th place finish, in that same tournament.
A 27 year old 6 ft 9 Power Forward of Congolese descent from Canada. Lufile played NCAA Division I Basketball with Wichita State and last played for Cape Breston Highlanders in NBL Canada where he averaged 11.3 PPG and 7.6 RPG. He also represented the Democratic Republic of Congo at the recent Afrobasket 2017. He is a powerful big man with a smooth touch to his offense. Look to him to bring both key offense and defense in the paint for Verve Club.
An explosive 6 ft 5 forward that graduated from Queens Athletics in 2017 and averaged 14.3 PPG and 6.8 RPG in NCAA Division II. This will be his first international basketball season.