KUALA LUMPUR – The Dragons gallantly fought Hong Kong Eastern Basketball Club for our second game at home but were outlasted in the last quarter, 78-89.

Heading into the game, the team expected it would be a tough challenge and needed to be mentally prepared with the guidance of head coach Jamie Pearlman.

Analyzing Hong Kong’s plays beforehand gave our home team a major advantage, which we used to hold off their offenses for 3 quarters before the team’s fatigue kicked in.

The Dragonforce controlled the first half of the game coming out on top at the end of each quarter, which led to a 4-point lead going into half-time.

As the second half begun, five minutes into the third quarter at 56-52, coach Eduard Torres Girbau of Hong Kong called a time-out for his team to redraw his plays. Coach Eduard’s call was a turning point of the game as they came out with a 12-point scoring run to put them at 56-64 leaving one possession left for Shepard to put in a lay-up.

The Eastern Long Lions capitalized on their set plays and kept the lead on the Dragons with Deguara focusing on rebounds and second chances.

Men Down

The Dragonforce, lacking firepower with only 9 available players as Benjamin Sim, Yee Tong and Joshua Gan were not fit for duty.

Against the full 12-player force of Hong Kong, which included Samuel “big Sam” Deguara and Marcus Elliot, the Dragons needed their best on the floor to constantly put pressure on them during defense.

“We came out wanting to win and I could have done a better job on Deguara so obviously there’s a lot more work to put in,” said Egwu who is 211cm on 226cm Samuel Deguara who has been named fourth tallest active player in the world.

Egwu releasing a shot over Deguara.

“We’ve got a quick turn-around with our next game against Philippines this Wednesday so I’ve got to watch the film (game recording) and adjust, see how I defended today and come back prepared.”

Dragons’ head coach stated, “The key for me is our defense, I think they (Hong Kong) scored too many points. A lot of it came down to their second chance opportunities, if they can make a shot over our hand, good on them. That’s basketball.”

“Offensively I thought we scored the ball pretty well, we had lots of open shots but we just didn’t knock down enough of them.”

“Too many offensive rebounds for them, and we didn’t knock down enough shots.”

Despite the loss, the team feels grateful for the fans that filled the stadium with their roaring chants and cheers for the team throughout the game which gave the team their much needed motivation throughout the game.

The Westports Malaysia Dragons will play Alab Pilipinas this Wednesday (9th January) 8:30PM at MABA Stadium, Kuala Lumpur.