Verve Club booked their ticket into the semifinals of the Malaysia Pro League with an emphatic 108-82 victory over the guest Filipino team, King Pinas Asia.
King Pinas Asia failed to resolve their team’s passport issues and they will be finishing the final weekend of the MPL with only five Filipino players and two Malaysian players for today, Kot Soon Peng and Yim Shen Yi.
Verve would see the return of their American import, Daniel Camps who sat out their last game due to a minor fever. Verve will be missing two of their locals, Fong Yen Yee and Gan Teck Hwa who were away representing Malaysia at the FIBA Asia 3X3 Championship in Mongolia.
Verve started fast, looking to tire the undermanned Pinas early in the game going on a 8-0 run to start the game, sparked by a jumper from captain, Wee Chuan Chin. Pinas were eager to show that they were not going to bow out of the league quietly going on a 8-0 run of their own to tie game started with a three pointer from their Malaysian backup, Kot.
Wee took control scoring five points to give Verve the lead for good for the quarter. Pinas would keep it close but their fatigue was their bane again with Verve ending the quarter with another 8-0 run with an And1 play from Canadian, Chadrack Lufile giving Verve the 29-18 lead to end the first quarter.
Pinas started the second eager to show that they were not ready to give up without a fight, with big man, Rene Pacquaio scoring five strong points to cut the lead to nine early in the second. Verve were not fazed and hit back quickly with Camps scoring five strong points of his own.
Pinas’s frustrations began to show as they tried attacking aggressively under the basket but were not able to break the strong post defense led by Lufile. Verve’s veteran locals would take advantage of this and took over the offense with Wee and veteran shooter, Lee Chien Chung combining for 16 points to further stretch Verve’s lead to 26 which they would take into the halftime break. The score at the half would be Verve 60 Pinas 34.
Verve would keep firm control of the game in the third as Pinas had no answers to contain the physical prowess of Camps and Lufile. A seven point run by Camps including a high looping scoop shot over the 7 ft 1 EJ Feihl stretch the lead to 33.
Verve would then bring a completely new line up made up of their bench locals. The bench kept their focus, not allowing Pinas any room to outscore Verve in the quarter. Young big man, Goh Yan Qin led them with six points as they closed out the quarter 87-56 in favor of Verve.
The fourth quarter was a similar story to the third with Verve firmly in control; maintaining their large lead as Pinas were not able to gain any offensive momentum. Verve subbed in their bench line up once again with four minutes to go and never looked threatened as the game finished with a strong 102-86 victory for Verve.
Verve will meet the second seed, Farmco Touch Up in the semifinals on Saturday, 28th October 2017 while King Pinas Asia will meet the losing team from the other quarter finals between PRG Eagles and Penang Stallions for the fifth placing game on Sunday.
Player of the Game
Canadian, Chadrack Lufile, bounced back from his poor performance against Farmco with a dominant performance, contributing both on offense and defense with 28 points, 19 rebounds and 3 blocks.
Verve 108: Lufile 28, Camps 25, Lee 16, Wee 13, Goh 8, Tan 5, Kwan 4, Liew 4, Soo 3, Teng 2
Pinas 82: Argamino 24, Pacquaio 21, De Ocampo 18, Kot 9, Feihl 5, Yim 3, Cudal 2