The Westports Malaysia Dragons’ season may have come to end, but they made sure to give their fans a treat in their finale.
Buoyed by a gutsy performance against the number one team in the ABL, the Dragons pulled off a miracle comeback to up end the Formosa Dreamers in dramatic fashion, 97-96 inside the MABA Stadium in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The Dreamers looked like they were set to cruise to their 10th straight win to close out the eliminations, as free throws from Malcolm Miller at the 4:52 mark of the third period gave the squad its biggest lead of the game at 17 points, 68-51. The Dragons would scramble to get to within striking distance, with an 8-3 run to finish the period making it a nine point deficit, 79-70.
The home squad turned up the pressure even further, outscoring the Dreamers 11-3 to regain the lead via a layup from Nnanna Egwu with 4:56 remaining in the game. From then on, both squads would exchange booming triples and gutsy layups in the paint up until the last two minutes of the game.
The Dreamers’ Malcolm Miller knocked down a triple, which was countered by one from Malaysia’s Chris Eversley, and followed by another from Miller’s teammate Will Artino. When the smoke cleared, a jumper from Miller with 55 seconds remaining gave the Dreamers the slimmest of leads, with 55 seconds remaining. Both teams missed baskets, but the Dragons had the ball and sued for time with 17 seconds left in the game.
Nnanna Egwu was able to get a look at the basket but missed. However Yek Liang Chuan saved the day with with an offensive rebound and put back to swing the lead back to the Dragons with 9 ticks remaining. The Dreamers had one last chance, but a desperation triple from Kenny Chien missed the mark, giving the Dragons all the room to celebrate on their home court one finl time this season.
Yek was the hero of the game, with a finale worth remembering via 17 points on a sparkling 4/4 from the three point area, 3 rebounds and one game winner. The World Imports of Malaysia also conspired to spark the comeback in the second half. Eversley had 32 points and 8 rebounds, while Egwu tallied 18 points and 6 assists.
Winston Shepard also ended his season with the Dragons with a triple double, as he racked up 17 points, 12 rebounds and 11 assists.
The Dreamers were led by Will Artino’s 27 points and 8 rebounds in the losing effort. Malcolm Miller also chipped in 21 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists.
The Dragons end their ABL season with an 8-18 record, finishing just outside of the Playoffs for the third straight year. Though the team had its moments of brilliance this season, particularly a thrilling three game winning streak that included wins against Mono Vampire Basketball Club and San Miguel Alab Pilipinas, the squad was unable to find the consistency needed to stop Mono Vampire from surging and grabbing the final Playoff spot.
The Dreamers’ season on the other hand continues as, they will enjoy home court advantage throughout the Playoffs, as the first seed. Their first match will be a best of 3 affair against last season’s ABL Finalists, Mono Vampire Basketball Club. They begin their battle on March 31, 2019.