PETALING JAYA: The 59th Agong Cup National Basketball Championships ended on Monday with Negri Sembilan defending their men’s title by stopping a spirited Melaka.
Negri, who were 27-35 down after the first quarter, rallied after the break with point guard Teo Kok Hou pulling the strings to come away with a 78-64 win at the Gem In Mall in Cyberjaya.
In the women’s event, Kuala Lumpur claimed the crown by edging defending champions Selangor 59-57 in the final.
Here are five talking points of the tournament.
1. NEGRI HAD MORE DEPTH OFF THE BENCH
TO Melaka’s credit, they gave Negri a scare by first leading 22-19, and then 35-27. But with a team comprising mostly veterans and part-time players, Melaka fizzled out as the match wore on. Negri made the most of their rotations with the bench players combining for 27 points while Melaka only had seven points off the bench. American-born forward Perry Lim shone with 15 points and 11 rebounds from the bench.
2. TEO KOK HOU SHOWED HIS WORTH
THE 23-year-old point guard was Negri’s star as he hit clutch three-pointers in the third quarter of the final. Kok Hou also lived up to his role as the floor general, finishing with 16 points, six assists, three steals and even a block shot. Kok Hou was also named Most Valuable Player (MVP) in the final. Not bad for the 1.75m cager.
3. NEGRI TRIO THE FACE OF MALAYSIAN BASKETBALL
WHILE Kok Hou ran the show in the final, the trio of Ting Chun Hong, Wong Yi Hou and Ivan Yeo all played big roles in Negri’s success. Both Yi Hou and Chun Hong, who are only 21, have shown that they can drive and shoot after finishing the tournament with averages of 14.83 and 14.17 points respectively. The 24-year-old Ivan is developing into a good stretch player who can defend the paint and also shoot from beyond the arc. The three are players to look out for in the future.
4. SELANGOR MISSED CHONG YIN YIN
THE 24-year-old, the tournament’s best defensive player, missed the final as she was nursing an injury. Yin Yin, whose feisty style is a boost for both offence and defence, was sorely missed by Selangor who fell to KL in the final.
5. BASKETBALL CERTAINLY GROWING IN POPULARITY
WHILE the House of Champions at the Gem In Mall is not as big as the Maba Stadium, it was surely pleasing to see a full house. This year’s Agong Cup has also shown that basketball’s popularity is certainly growing, thanks to the non-Chinese Maba Selection team landing the Division Two title and then beating Selangor to earn promotion to Division One.