Westports Malaysia Dragons concluded their Merlion Cup experience in last place after today’s loss to Taiwanese club Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor of the Super Basketball League (SBL), 84-76. KKL’s Marcus Melvin led his team with 25 points and 17 rebounds. Melvin worked with Chien Wei-Ju, who scored 23 points to ensure that the Dragons go winless in the tournament.
The Dragons’ Joel Wright led all scorers with 28 points in a losing effort for last season’s ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) Champions. Wong Yi Hou and Ivan Yeo chipped in 20 and 14 points, respectively.
After getting one day to rest, the Westports Malaysia Dragons and Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor got a chance at salvaging a victory in this game contending for 5th place. Both teams were unable to win in their group stages of the 2016 Merlion Cup.
KKL had the upper hand in the first quarter 22-15, shouldered by the sharpshooting of Chien Wei-Ju who had 3 three pointers. Prior to this game, the Dragons got big performances from Joel Wright and Kuek Tien Yuan, but both combined for only 3 points in the first quarter. The ABL Champs instead got a solid start from Wong Yi Hou, who made all of his three shot attempts for 6 points.
Yi Hou further solidified his status as the go-to guy in this game for the Dragons and added 10 more points in the second quarter. Kinmen had an answer to Yi Hou’s outburst as Wei-Ju kept his hand hot by putting on another 4 three pointers on his stat line. Wei-Ju’s 21 points was key to Kinmen extending their lead to 43-32. Kinmen’s American import Marcus Melvin also contributed with a 10-point 10-rebound double double.
The second half started with Kinmen fending off mini-runs from the Dragons. Joel Wright got things going in this period and rattled in 13 points for the Dragons highlighted by a monster dunk near the end of the quarter. However, Kinmen forced turnovers and ran up to score quickly. Team Captain Lin Wei-Han added 7 points to his tally to be the third player on Kinmen to reach double digits. Kinmen still led 67-53 after three quarters.
Ivan Yeo attempted made an effort to step up for the Dragons as Yi Hou cooled down in the second half and Kuek Tien Yuan struggling with fouls all game. Yeo used his big frame and mobility to get in for 10 more points in the final quarter. It was enough to make a run to get the Dragons to within 8 points, but ultimately they would still fall short to Kinmen Kaoling Liquor in their final bout.
The Westports Malaysia Dragons finish their Merlion Cup run in 6th place and Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor ends up in 5th place.