Easyway seek ‘Sultan’s Cup’ three-peat

Yee Chun Leong

THE repeat was done. The next question is "Can Easyway three-peat?"

Easyway will be fielding a strong lineup for the MK MK Group Cup (widely known as the Sultan’s Cup) held in conjunction with His Majesty’s 71st Birthday celebrations.

They won their fourth championship in six years after defeating D’Sunlit 89-72 in the final of the SpeedSend Cup last year.

They have once again kept the core of local players with Ben Sim, Muhd Zainul Ashyraf Hj Hussin, Choo Yung Jian, Darren Chai, Jamri Ramlee and Yap Chun Ping.

The Filipino duo of Geve Leones (featured pic) and Francis Barcellano have also been retained.

Their latest additions include Kel Hung (6'7") and Marcus Quirk (6'5").

They have also been boosted by their imports - 6’11" American Justin Howard, the 2016-2017 ABL (ASEAN Basketball League) Defensive Player of the Year with the Singapore Slingers, and 6’3” Fil-Am point guard Avery Scharer from the Thailand Basketball League.

Easyway celebrated their fourth championship in six years in the previous edition. Picture: Yee Chun Leong

They are the favourites on paper to take it all the way again but Easyway manager Wira Pori is not playing down the rest of the competition.

“The strength of a team can only be measured once the tournament ends. Anything can happen,” said Wira in an interview with BruSports News yesterday.

“The target is a championship, like any other team and I don’t count our chickens before they hatch.

“Right now we must stay focused on one game at a time,” he added.

Easyway have been drawn in Group A together with Street Roc, CK & Associates, EMPrez Sdn Bhd and BBA.

On the other hand, Group B comprise of Juramas, YTE Morsjaya, Walltique Sdn Bhd, Hainan and Tutong Basketball.

There is also a change in coaching staff with Xavier Fong, who helped the national team to a runner-up finish at the Borneo City Cup in Miri over the weekend, and Lim Kok Shien managing the squad.

When asked about how they can utilise their height advantage for the July 16 - August 6 tournament, Wira replied: “I leave that to the creativity of the coaching staff. I hope they have fun doing so.

“We shall see what the new additions will bring to the table,” he added.

Marcus Quirk is an addition to the Easyway squad. Picture: Yee Chun Leong

The biggest problem for the team is that they have not been able to put up any full training sessions but Wira believes they will be able to adjust quickly.

“It (Training) has been spotty, honestly,” said Wira.

“Work commitments, national team commitments and a number of players based overseas prior to the tournament have been the main factors in trying to get a full session in.

“It is always a problem when you have missing pieces as they would have to adapt as the tournament progresses, which might upset the existing energy,” he added.

“However, we believe everyone will be able to find their roles on the team and this can hopefully become a non-issue over time,” concluded Wira

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