Farmco Touch Up defeated Verve Club 90-77 in the first semifinals of the Malaysia Pro League 2017 in an intense encounter with Farmco only pulling away in the closing minutes of the game.
Verve decided to change their starting line up slightly, switching American import Daniel Camp to the 2 position, starting local big, Heh Boon Pin. The mismatch payed dividends early as Camps started the game with a rare three pointer, leading them to a 7-0 run which forced an early timeout by Farmco.
It would be a quarter of runs as both teams traded scoring runs, first Farmco with a 11-0 run before Verve responded with a 6-0 run on their own which was followed by another 10-0 run by Farmco. Verve was unable to cope to with the offense of Cameroonian, Chris Kuete who led Farmco with 12 points in the first. Farmco would lead 24-15 at the end of the first.
Farmco guard, Ooi Ban Sin would get the second going with a quick fast break layup. Farmco would look to seal the game early, with youngster Tan Wen Gio making six points giving Farmco a 13 point lead midway through the second.
Verve were determined to perform better than their previous outing against Farmco and led by the inspired play of their captain Wee Chuan Chin who had eight in the quarter, they kept chipping away at the lead cutting it to four by the end of the quarter. Verve’s tight defense on Farmco’s imports limited Deguara and Kuete to only eight points in the second. The score at the half would Farmco 45 Verve 41.
The third started with Deguara picking his third foul of the game early at the 9:19 mark of the third. Despite him remaining in the game, the hesitation on defense was clear as Verve used this to their advantage with big Canadian, Chadrack Lufile scoring eight straight points regaining the lead for Verve early in the third.
It would be close quarter as both teams traded leads throughout the quarter before the late stages when Deguara began to stamp his authority in the point once again with a pair of thunderous dunks. Verve faced further woes as Camps was sent to the bench with his fourth foul at the last minute of the third. Farmco would lead 70-61 at the end of the third.
Back to back baskets by Kuete and Deguara would stretch the lead to 13 for Farmco. Kuete would pick his fourth foul at the 7:58 mark. Kuete’s nervous play with four fouls world spark Verve on their own inspired 13-0 run to tie the game started by a three pointer from Lee Chien Chung.
Unfortunately for Verve, Camps fouled out at the 2:39 mark after a blocking foul on Deguara. This would prove costly as Verve would not able to contain the massive Deguara without Camp’s assistance. Despite Kuete fouling out at the 2:38 mark after an offensive foul on Benjamin Sim, Deguara would lead the offense with eight points at the end of the game to close out the game 90-77 for Farmco.
Farmco move on to the final game on Sunday, 29th October 2017 to determine the champions of MPL 2017 while Verve move on to the third placing game happening on the same day.
Player of the Game
Samuel Deguara played a strong game finishing with 34 points, 22 rebounds and 3 blocks. He remained calm despite playing with foul trouble for a majority of the game.
Farmco 90: Deguara 34, Kuete 27, Ooi 9, Wong 6, Tan 6, Guganeswaran 5, Tem 3
Verve 77: Lufile 19, Camps 16, Wee 14, Lee 11, Sim 11, Liew 4, Heh 2