Here’s our team-by-team recap of the first two days of the 2018 Malaysia Hoops Challenge
SBL Select Team (2-0)
Vs KL Dragons 103-43
Vs CLS Knights Indonesia 80-61
Bannering the best of the recently concluded Western Australia SBL, the SBL Select Team lived up to their country’s dominance over Asian competition at the international stage.
The Australian’s opened their campaign with a dominating 103-43 victory over the KL Dragons, taking the lead early on in the game and never looking back, only allowing the Dragons nine points in the second half. Every player on the team would get on the scoresheet with Damien Scott, Jackson Hussey and Matthew Adekponya scoring at least 20 points for the team.
Their second win would be a more challenging task, defeating CLS Knights Indonesia 80-61. The Australians would keep a comfortable double digits margin throughout most of the game, but were made to stay wary as the Knights kept pushing throughout the game.Mason Bragg would lead the team with a near Triple Double performance of 12 points, 8 rebounds and 10 assists.
Red Baron (2-0)
Vs Adroit Singapore 96-90
Vs NS Matrix 83-80
Red Baron, the only Malaysian team featuring three pure imports, overcame a 19 point deficit to defeat Adroit Singapore 96-90 in their first win. Sammy Monroe would heat up late in the game, taking over and finishing with an impressive stat line of 32 points, 12 rebounds and 6 assists. Red Baron would fully utilize their deep bench to ensure the long run stamina win over the eight man squad of Adroit.
In another close exciting game, Red Baron would emerge victors over NS Matrix in a game that was close all the way with neither team being able to get a double digit lead. It would look like Red Baron would have the game with Monroe giving them a three point lead with 9.9 seconds to go. Matrix’s Viernes would make a huge three to tie the game before Red Baron would turn to non other than Sammy Monroe who made the buzzer beating three pointer off the time out with 5.7 seconds remaining to win the game for Red Baron .
Adroit Singapore (1-1)
Vs Red Baron 90-96
Vs KL Dragons 86-68
Adroit would come into the Hoops Challenge bringing only an eight man squad and faced a last minute import change with Joshua White coming in to replace Jalen Robinson at the 11th hour.
They would show their fine form in their first game against Red Baron, stretching the lead to as high as 19 early in the game. Unfortunately for them, their short roster would not be able to keep up with Red Baron’s heavy rotation, allowing Red Baron to grab the 96-90 win late in the game.
They would come up with a much better game in their win against the Dragons as their four key locals took control of the game for them. Despite playing most of the game, the big four of Wong Wei Long, Wong Zhong Han, Leon Kwek and Toh Qing Huang combined 76 points to down the Dragons.
NS Matrix (1-1)
Vs CLS Knights 76-72
Vs Red Baron 80-83
It would be shaky game for the team managing the Malaysian National Team against the all locals CLS Knights Indonesia. Matrix would trail for most of the game despite having the services of two imports, Anthony Walker and Jeff Viernes. Matrix would take control in the fourth quarter leading by nine before allowing CLS to pull off a comeback to cut the lead to two with a minute to go. Matrix would hold firm to open the Hoops Challenge with a win.
Matrix would opt to rest Ivan Yeo for their second game against Red Baron. They would keep the game close despite trailing for most of the game,and earned huge contributions from Jeff Viernes with 31 points, including a huge game tying three pointer with 5.7 seconds remaining. Unfortunately for Matrix, Sammy Monroe would hit the game winning three pointer in the face of Anthony Walker to give them their first loss of the tournament.
CLS Knights Indonesia (0-2)
Vs NS Matrix 72-76
Vs SBL Select Team 61-80
Despite fielding an all locals line up, CLS Knights were not daunted in facing imports and Australians in their two losses thus far at the Malaysia Hoops Challenge. Showcasing good teamwork both on offense and defense, the Knights look like they’re staying the course in their goal of preparing their locals for the upcoming ABL Season.
They would be led by the inspired play of Kaleb Gemilang, averaging 18 PPG in the two games.
KL Dragons (0-2)
Vs SBL Select Team 43-103
Vs Adroit Singapore 68-86
The Dragon’s new Head Coach Jamie Pearlman could not ask for a worse start to his tenure as Head Coach as his team slumped to a 0-2 record for the first two days of the Malaysia Hoops Challenge.
The Dragons would choose to field a line up with no ABL experience except for resident import ,Chris Eversley. They would be able to keep the SBL Select Team to a tie in the first quarter of their first game, but the game would go downhill from then onwards as the team committed 36 turnovers and could only score nine points in the second half as they were unable to break the Australian’s tight press defense.
In their second loss to Adroit Singapore, the Dragons would show poor communication in defense, allowing Adroit to get the better of them numerous times, allowing them to finish the game with 47% shooting, despite outrebounding their opponent 52-36 . The Dragons would allow Adroit to get double digit lead for good towards the end of the third quarter and were not able to mount any form of a serious comeback.