NS Matrix drew first blood in the opening game of the Malaysia Pro League Development League (MPLDL) defeating the KL Dragons 61-54.
It would be the battle between two big names of Malaysian basketball to tip off the Malaysia Pro League Development League. NS Matrix are back to back champions of the Agong Cup, Malaysia’s highest level all local competition while the KL Dragons have been participating in the Asean Basketball League since its inception. The KL Dragons would only have two players in the line up with ABL experience, opting to develop new talent for the MPL D League.
Matrix would go on a hot start streaking to a 6-0 lead , showing the chemistry of a team has been training together for years, with national team forward, Anthony Liew getting the ball rolling for Matrix. Matrix’s persistent and youthful defense would force eight turnovers from the Dragons in the first quarter leading them to extending their lead as large as 11. The Dragons would go on their mini run to end the first cutting the deficit to 17-10 after a buzzer beater layup from Joshua Gan.
The second quarter would continue to be a cagey affair with numerous fouls being called and Matrix would be dealt a huge blow with Anthony getting his fourth foul in the second quarter. The Dragons would be able to cut the lead to five but a layup by Tan Chi Seng off a turnover from Joshua would ensure Matrix retain their seven point lead going into the half. The score at the half would be Matrix 30 Dragons 23.
Matrix would start the third in similar fashion scoring five quick points to extend the lead to 12 before a Gan Teck Le three pointer clawed the Dragons back to single digits. The Dragons would begin to find their offensive flow and picked up their defensive pressure, managing to cut the deficit to four off a basket by Chiang Wei Er at the 2:24 mark leading to a Matrix time out. This would allow Matrix to refocus their offense, closing the half off a jumper by Liew Wei Yuong extending the lead to eight.
Dejavu once again hit the Dragons with Matrix hitting hard at the start of the fourth with 16 year old Hiew Jia Hao scoring six straight points to give Matrix the largest lead of the game at 14. The Dragons would not give up and kept chipping away but the younger Matrix team showed their physical advantage and fitness keeping the pressure up with a full court man to man defense . Matrix would lead by six at the one minute mark but a three pointer by Gan Teck Le off the Dragons timeout would make it a one possession game. Liew Wei Yuong would miss the chance to seal the game for Matrix but the Dragon’s inability to secure the defensive rebound allowed Matrix to make the killer basket with 19 seconds to go off a lay up by Tan Chee Wey. The Dragons would not be able to recover and Matrix finished the game with a 61-54 victory.
Matrix showed their physical advantage over the Dragons outrebounding the team 57-50 , forcing 23 turnovers and getting 15 steals. The best player of the night was 17year old forward, Ooi Xian Fu with 15 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals.
Matrix play their next game on the 11th of May against Seven Star while the Dragons take a 2 week break before their next game on the 19th against the PRG Warriors
Matrix 61– Ooi 15, Tan CW 12, Liew WY 11, Hiew 10, Tan CS 5, A.Liew 4, Yew 3, De 1
Dragons 54 – Chiang 15, J.Gan 9, Gan TL 8, Fong 6, Ang 6, Ng 5, Tham 2, Edika 1, Moo 1, Lim 1