Down with tight rotation, the Westports Malaysia Dragons pursuit to end the losing streak did not materialise in the first meet against Indonesia’s CLS Knights Surabaya.

The Knights unveiled former Dragons’ Brian Williams and Freddie Goldstein in the lineup but the main star of the show was none of than the 38-year-old Mario Wuysang who led the team for their second victory over Dragons, 82-92.

The Malaysian team had to rely on fellow other players such as Joshua Munzon and Wong Yi Hou as Marcus Marshall had to sit out from the match to nurse his knee injury. At the same time, assistant coach Adrian Wong was shouldering the responsibility at the court without head coach Christopher Thomas who was suspended for a game by the league.

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“I guess we didn’t start strong but we came back after to tie the score. We didn’t manage to hold them right there and they pulled off 15 points. Second half was an effort from the team and it was pretty good but we can’t overtake them.

“Most probably because of my inexperience and we will work harder on that,” Adrian Wong said.

Dragons’ mess, Knights’ Gain

In the first quarter, Knights took on an early run of 6-0 from Sandy, Edwards and Wuysang as the Dragons struggled to make any baskets in the first two minutes of the game.

Cabahug broke the draught after the sixth team basket attempt, followed by Kuek’s layup, 4-6. Even as the Knights were leading comfortably at five points, Dragons quickly shaved their lead down before the timeout was called, scoring four points from Munzon and Ivan Yeo, 8-9 midway through the first quarter.

The Knights extended their lead and pulling away from the Dragons after Williams’ three-pointer and marking their first double-digit lead of 11 points from another perimeter basket by Indonesian-Filipino Ebrahim ‘Biboy’ Enguio, 10-21.

The final seconds ticked down to close the quarter, Dragons attempted to shave the lead down but the Knights kept it ahead of the home team at 11 points lead, 10-21.

Dragons only had 5 out of 24 made baskets compared to Knights at 8 out of 19 with two threes made. With very thin bench and tight rotation of players to play in this match, Dragons struggled a lot in the first quarter.

Knights were having the run in the court sinking three-pointers from Wuysang while Jensen led the quarter for the team and scored five points successively from the perimeter and a fast break.

The Indonesian team was already leading by 20 points in the first three minutes of the second quarter. Yi Hou came into the court and took on the Knights, leading the team with seven points including his three-pointer to keep the hopes up for the Dragons, 23-39.

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Right before the time-out in the last four minutes to the halftime, Munzon made a quick run to shave Knight’s lead down to 13 points with second three-pointer, 26-39.

Munzon-Yi Hou duo took on seven successive points including Munzon’s third three pointer and Yi Hou’s dunk, 33-39. Munzon continued to rile the home court with another three-pointer as the quarter closing to the halftime, making the biggest scoring run of 18 points at 36-39.

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It was not long for the Knights to retaliate with a strong offense from the perimeter, locking down 12-2 points in the run with two three-pointers each from Wuysang and Jensen, 38-51 in the last 21 seconds of the quarter.

It was a difficult matchup for the Dragons as they pushed through the lead by the Knights down to three points but the six three-pointers in the quarter gave the leverage for the Indonesian team closing the quarter with 13 points.

As the second half of the match started, the Knights were inching back to their 20-point lead against the Dragons, sinking more baskets from Jensen and Wuysang.

Dragons did not give any easy shots for the Indonesian team and scored two back-to-back three-pointers from Yi Hou and Munzon, 50-63 in the last four minutes in the third quarter. Kuek returned the fire for the Dragons and made the third successive three-pointer for the team, 53-63.

Foul trouble brewing for the Dragons as Munzon booked his third foul in the quarter as the Knights were still leading by 17 points, 57-74 in the final minute of the third quarter. Just seconds before the third quarter ends, Wong Yi Hou made the buzzer beater jump shot and closed the third quarter at 61-75.

Things were picking up for the Dragons, both Kuek and Munzon both sank two three-pointers for a seven-point scoring run as the final quarter started. Knights was leading by 14 points at first then down to seven, 68-75.

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The Dragons managed to keep their hopes up, locking it down to a nine points deficit but later caught up by the Knights to lead again at 13 points, 74-87 from Edwards and Goldstein.

Kuek’s third three-pointer put Dragons back on the board to a ten-point deficit 77-87 in the last two minutes. Time was not on the side for the Malaysian team, looking tired and frustrated attempting to make several last shots in the last thirty seconds of the game.

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“We were rushing sometimes for the score, trying to catch up with the points. I kept reminding the players to hold them first and do a better defense before we continue our second session of catching up,” Adrian Wong said.

Joshua Munzon led the team with 29 points and 15 rebounds while Wong Yi You and Kuek Tian Yuan both bagged 16 and 15 points respectively.

Knights’ Shane Edwards recorded a double-double with 27 points and 10 rebounds, Mario Wuysang and Keith Jensen scored 19 and 18 points.

Westports Malaysia Dragons will be playing against Hong Kong Eastern on February 8 at 8PM, Southorn Stadium, Hong Kong.

Statistics
Westports Malaysia Dragons
Joshua Munzon (29 points, 15 rebounds, 5 assists, 2 steals)
Wong Yi Hou (16 points, 4 rebounds)
Kuek Tian Yuan (15 points, 9 rebounds)
Ting Chun Hong (8 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists)
AJ West (7 points, 11 rebounds, 2 assists)

CLS Knights
Shane Edwards (27 points, 10 rebounds, 2 assists)
Mario Wuysang (19 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists)
Keith Jensen (18 points, 3 rebounds)
Brian Williams (10 points, 14 rebounds, 4 assists, 5 steals)