KL Dragons Basketball Academy clinched the top spot of the preliminary round in the 2017 Malaysia Pro League by defeating the guest team from the Phillipines, King Pinas Asia, 120-78.
King Pinas Asia were once against shorthanded as they only had six players on the bench, with only one Malaysian back up in Yim Shen Yi. The Dragons were looking to get their fourth win a row to secure the top position and once again started their regular starting five that won them the past three games.
The Dragons looked to quickly tire out the undermanned Pinas squad with a quick paced game It would be Pinas who managed to take the lead with baskets by RJ Argamino and Peter De Ocampo, giving the Filipino side a 4-3 lead.
This would be their only lead of the game as the KL Dragons pushed to a quick 20-7 lead midway through the first, led by Canadian Daniel Eves 10 points. The Dragons swapped their entire line up midway through the first to a local line up that managed to keep the lead for the Dragons at the end of the quarter 30-18, led by Wan the Chee Yuen’s six points.
The second quarter for the Dragons started with their starting line up once again which proved too much to handle for Pinas as the Malaysian side went on a 21-3 run which stretched the lead to 30, highlighted by veteran John Ng’s nine points.
The Dragons would once again go for a full swap at the midway mark, giving a MPL debut to 19-year Mohamed Qabil who made his presence felt with a long three pointer giving the Dragons their biggest lead of the quarter at 32. Pinas would take advantage of the inexperienced line up going on a 7-0 run to cut the deficit to 25. The score at the half would be 58-33 in favor of the Dragons.
Fil-Am Kyle Toth got the Dragons starting strong in the third quarter with a three pointer that set the pace. Pinas’ fatigue was clearly showing and the Dragons went on the familiar early quarter run before checking out their starters. It was 19-4 run this time with John Ng making his third three pointer, stretching the lead to 40 before the full swap.
This time around, the Dragons’ bench line up came out guns a-blazing, pushing the floor once again and were led by the 31 year old Wan who pitched in another six points, including a buzzer beater layup that gave the Dragons a 50 point lead at the end of the third quarter.
Pinas would show signs of fight in the final period as the Dragons opted to swap out their starting line up early at the 6:36 mark, giving their younger players an opportunity to showcase their talent. A layup under the basket by 17 year old Yap Zhi Wei at the 1:37 mark would ensure everyone on the Dragons team was on the points list for the night. Peter De Ocampo would explode for 18 points in the fourth quarter to give Pinas a respectable fight to the end of the game. The final score would be 120-78 in favor of the Dragons.
With the victory, the Dragons secure the top spot of the preliminary round giving them an automatic berth into the semifinals.
Player of the Game
Daniel Eves once again showed his prowess both on offense and defense, leading the team with 24 points, 16 rebounds and 2 blocks.
Dragons 120: Eves 24, Ng 14, Wan 14, Toth 12, Phan 12, Tung 11, Qabil 8, Shadzwan 6, Edika 6, Foong 6, Yap 4, Hilmi 3
Pinas 78: Argamino 31, De Ocampo 30, Pacquiao 17