HONG KONG – Westports Malaysia Dragons put up a good fight against Hong Kong Eastern Long Lions at Southorn Stadium but lost out 9 points at 96-87.

Losing out only in transition points (19), the Dragons were on par with the Long Lions in shot accuracy. Lions had 42% accuracy compared to Dragons’ 41%.

As if a tug of war, the ball was going back and forth, from court to court in the first half of the game, with Dragons losing footing at times by steals from the Hong Kong players.

Despite losing out on so much (transition) points, Dragons still managed to reduce the deficit down to 3, up to the 3rd quarter with a last second foul in jump shot from Kiwi Gardner.

The game took a turn for the worse in the final quarter, as we lost focus and fell to Lions’ defenses. Dragons were unable to put the ball in the basket for the first three minutes of the quarter.

Gardner manage to break the dry spell as his final 3-pointer of the match on the 6th minute mark.

Coach Thomas had the Dragons’ first team line-up on court in the last 5 minutes of the quarter; they were trailing 80-68.

By then, it was an uphill battle for them against the Lions’ stronger and tighter team.

This was Coach Thomas’ second game with his team readjustments, having only trained his new first team for a total of four days.

Top scorer of the match from Dragons were Joshua Munzon at 19 points 5 rebounds 2 assist 2 steals. Followed by Kiwi Gardner at 18 points 7 rebounds 9 assist 1 steal.

Spencer, Shee Fai and Captain Ma scored 11, 10 and 10 points respectively. Spencer as usual managed to get 14 rebounds and Ivan Yeo, despite scoring only 4 jumpshots, had 3 offensive rebounds and 5 defensive ones.

In team comparisons,

STATS H.K. Eastern Long Lions Westports Malaysia Dragons
Field Goal % 42% (37/87) 42% (32/77)
2-points 48% (30/62) 52% (24/46)
3-points 28% (7/25) 25% (8/31)
Free-throws 83% (15/18) 88% (15/17)

Despite losing, the Dragons are definitely on the right path as the team has been playing a much more aggressive game, especially for the local players.

With the new team dynamics, Keyondrei “Kiwi” Gardner, as Coach Thomas has said, “Kiwi is a talented player who has an uplifting presence, whenever he’s playing, his team listens to him.”

Westports Malaysia Dragons will be playing against Alab Pilipinas this Friday, 17th February.

Writen by: Benjamin Lim