Yee Chun Leong
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
TWO-time defending champions Easyway picked up their second straight win in Group A of the MK Group Cup with a 121-55 victory over Em Prez Sdn Bhd last night.
American import Justin Howard had a monster double-double with a game-high of 35 points and 23 rebounds while Marcus Quirk added 19 points.
Kel Hung contributed 16 points while the duo of Avery Scharer and Ben Sim chipped in 15 points each in the victory at the BBA court in Batu Bersurat.
On the other side, Matthew Vaserano topscored for Em Prez with 13 points while Alvin Goh notched 12 points in the defeat.
Em Prez, who are made up mostly of players under the Easyway development programme, hung around for the opening five minutes of the match before Easyway turned up their defence to open up a 27-15 lead going into the second frame.
Howard was having his way in the paint as there was no one on the opposition to handle his height to see the advantage for the defending champions balloon to 58-25 at halftime.
The biggest highlight of the encounter came in the third quarter off a fastbreak with Scharer pushing the ball up to find Howard before the latter threw the ball up for Quirk to complete the alley-oop.
Despite the lopsided scoreline, Easyway coach Xavier Fong felt there is still plenty of work to be done.
“We didn’t move very well especially with our 3-2 defence. As seen in the third quarter, we had leaks in our defence so we went with man-to-man,” said Fong in an interview with BruSports News after the triumph.
On the other hand, Em Prez manager Sonny Rasani felt his charges put up a brave fight against tougher opponents.
“Most of the players are new to playing in big competitions and they are still in the process of gelling with senior players,” said Sonny.
“They are a big nervous, however, in the second half they showed they are determined and not scared to go out there to show their skills.
“They do want to win but it came down to experience matters. But they are improving everyday and hopefully on Sunday will see a different team,” he added.
Meanwhile, Street Roc won their third consecutive game in the same group with a 134-64 victory over BBA.
American import Mike Fey had a double-double with 33 points and 15 rebounds.
Darren Yap and Tan Kah Boon notched 16 points each while Apollo Bibat also contributed a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds.
Battle for Group A supremacy on Sunday at 8.45pm
Geve Leones sat out of the matchup last night while Darren Chai is away. Md Zainul Ashyraf and Marcus Quirk also just linked up with the team last night.
Regardless, Easyway have the upperhand considering they have two imports as opposed to one for Street Roc.
“We have the advantage since we have two imports while they only have one,” said Fong.
“Gelling of the team is not bad. We also moved the ball better than in the first match (against BBA).
“Only thing is that we missed too many open shots,” he added.
On the other hand, Street Roc coach Pong Bing Chau emphasised that defence will be key for them.
“We need to play very hard defence,” said Pong.
“They have two imports while we only have one so defence will be our main focus. We must make sure we box out to protect Mike (from getting into foul trouble),” he added.
“But compared to them we have some younger players so stamina might be better but experience wise they definitely have the upperhand.
“We will also need our ball movement to be better and faster,” he concluded.