The Malaysia Basketball Association continues to push for the further development of Malaysian basketball with the launch of the Malaysia Pro League (MPL) Development League. The MPL launched its first edition in 2017 as the first basketball pro league in Malaysia in 4 years with Farmco Touch Up emerging victorious.
The D-League will see the return of four teams from the MPL, the champions, Farmco Knights (who participated in the 2017 MPL as Farmcochem Touch Up), the KL Dragons (known to ASEAN Basketball League fans as Westports Malaysia Dragons), the PRG Warriors (participated in the 2017 MPL as the PRG Eagles) and Verve Club.
The new additions will be clubs who are established in the local Malaysian basketball scene: NS Matrix, Melaka 96ers, Red Baron, Seven Star and the New Ampang Youth Club.
In an effort to promote talent parity and youth development, each team is allowed a maximum of two National Team Players* and four Under-23 (U23) players have to be named on a game day squad totalling 12. Each team will be required to have at least one U-23 player on the floor at all times during the game.
An encouraging sign that has been shown is that although league rules set only four U-23 players required for each game, 51 percent of the players who are registered to play are below the age of 23 with NS Matrix opting for an entire line up of U-23 players, resting their stable of senior players, Kuek Tian Yuan, Ivan Yeo, Wong Yi Hou, Teo Kok Hou, and Ting Chun Hong, who are all known to ASEAN basketball fans as key members of Westports Malaysia Dragons
The top six teams will qualify for the playoffs with the top two teams getting a bye into the semi-finals . Teams ranked third to sixth will then face each other to qualify for the semi finals. The three teams have been divided into three groups by random draws. Each team will play teams in their same group twice and teams from the other groups once. The groupings are:
Group A– Farmco Knights, NS Matrix, Red Baron
Group B– KL Dragons, Melaka 96ers, Seven Star
Group C– PRG Warriors, Verve Club, New Ampang Youth Club
Games will be played on the weekends from May 6 to July 8 and will all be held at MABA Stadium, Kuala Lumpur.
* National Community Players are exempted from the National Team player quota
** PRG Warriors were allowed 3 National Team players by paying a fine to the league and approved by all other teams