Yee Chun Leong
BANDAR SERI BEGAWAN
JURAMAS used a strong start to deny Easyway a three-peat after storming to a stunning 113-99 win in the final of the MK Group Cup last night.
Juramas came out firing on all cylinders and led by as many as 26 points in the second half enroute to victory at the BBA Court in Batu Bersurat.
Esmond Tan, who was at the losing end of the final with D'Sunlit last year, felt that defence was key to winning the championship.
“All this while, we have been concentrating on our defence. All the games we have been playing good defence,” said Tan in an interview with BruSports News after the triumph.
“But for the semi-finals (against Street Roc) we were a bit tired and the defence wasn’t very good. So yesterday (Saturday) we had practice for some shootaround and concentrated on defence,” added the Juramas captain.
Tan also praised his teammate Lim Aik Hock for a stellar defensive display especially against Thailand Basketball League Player of the Year Avery Scharer.
“Everyone played well especially Efu (Aik Hock). He really stopped the import (Scharer). We knew the import is not a shooter but is the guy who creates chances for his teammates,” said Tan, who scored 18 points in the win.
“So we had to make him tired of dribbling and force him to shoot instead of dribbling all the way in. Our game plan was to make him shoot,” added the 33-year-old.
American Udun Osakue, who was named the final MVP, topscored for Juramas with 38 points while compatriot Carl Montgomery added 31.
Lim Liang Wei was the other in double figures with 12 points to his name.
On the other hand, Justin Howard netted 37 points for Easyway while Scharer added 32 in a losing effort.
Juramas started the game strongly and were attacking their opponents on the break.
They were getting almost everything to fall and limited Easyway to taking the outside shot - which the latter struggled with - resulting in Juramas opening up a double digit lead.
Osakue finished the first 10 minutes with 14 points to help Juramas take a 36-24 lead into the second quarter.
Easyway clawed their way back to within five points (38-33) just three minutes into the frame.
However, Juramas responded with nine unanswered points - back-to-back three-point plays and a trey - to shift the momentum back in their favour.
They were sharing the ball and took advantage of Easyway’s turnovers to build their lead to 63-44 at halftime.
Easyway were not helped by their poor defence and Juramas continued their hot shooting after the interval.
The two-time defending champions simply had no answer as they faced a 95-73 deficit going into the final stanza - where they never really troubled Juramas the rest of the way.
Meanwhile, YTE Morsjaya bagged the bronze after defeating Street Roc 105-95 in the third-place playoff.