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NS Matrix: Meet the Malaysian team that’s competing in the Seri Mutiara Champions Cup

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Further proof that the Seri Mutiara Cup 2017 is has fielded the best teams ever is the Group B favourite. KK Split, from the basketball haven, Croatia, is a clear favourite to win this group. With solid fundamentals and coaching, the team is fancied to do well. Defending champion, Guangzhou Securities will certainly not go down without a fight! They recently signed former North Carolina and NBA star, Tyler Hansborough, to their team to strengthen an already-strong line-up.

The Fubon Braves are also ready to show us why basketball is one of the most popular sports in Taipei. The Braves are fancied to be a top team in the Super Basketball League this year and they want to get off to a good start by playing well in the Seri Mutiara Cup. The wildcard in this group will be the Malaysian team, NS Matrix. With four players from the NBL G-Leagues’ Texas Legends, they have bolstered their local players with strong imports. In the last Seri Mutiara, NS Matrix were the first runner-up; can they repeat that performance or finally rise to the top this year? Here’s a lowdown on the Malaysian team!

The Coach
Bryant Lester is an Australian who coached the Malaysian national team from 2005 for two years before joining the NBL Johor Tigers for 3 years. He has global coaching experience in Australia, Malaysia and spent 15 years in the Middle East. He is currently with NS Matrix and is tasked with overseeing the team’s performance in the upcoming Seri Mutiara Cup and Agong Cup.

Lester says, “Malaysia might be a little behind on the national team compared to the global average, but we have some very good individual players who can bring surprises to the court. The disadvantages are largely due to the fact that the Malaysian players are not as physical as some of the counterparts and generally have less exposure at the high-level game. In general terms, standard is quite good but there are still teams at the club level further ahead than us, such as Japan, Korea and China.”

Marquee Players

Keith Hornsby
Hornsby played his first two years of college basketball at UNC Asheville. As a junior, he transferred to LSU, starting in 52 of 53 games and finished with averages of 13.3 points. In his senior season, he averaged 13.1 points, second on the team to Ben Simmons. After going undrafted in the 2016 NBA draft, Hornsby signed with the Dallas Mavericks on July 27, 2016. On October 30, 2016, Hornsby was selected by the Texas Legends with the ninth overall pick in the 2016 NBA Development League Draft.

Joseph Avila
Avila began his career at Navy, where he played for two years and won the Patriot League Rookie of the Year. After playing at Navy, he transferred to South Texas College where he redshirted and then transferred to Colorado State. He earned first-team All-Mountain West honors as a senior. After going undrafted in the 2015 NBA draft, Avila joined the Houston Rockets for the 2015 NBA Summer League. On July 27, he signed with Stella Artois Leuven Bears of the Belgian League. In July, 2016, Avila joined the New York Knicks for the 2016 NBA Summer League. On September 26, 2016, he signed with the Chicago Bulls, but was waived after appearing in two preseason games. On January 28, he was traded to the Texas Legends.

Bryson Fonville
Fonville is one of the most decorated men’s basketball players in the history of The Catholic University of America. He started in every game except for one in the 2014-2105 season. As a four year starter he scored 1,649 career points, placing him in the top-10 in University history. His total steals also places him in the top-four. He competed in the NCAA Tournament three times. On October 30, 2016, Fonville was drafted as the ninth pick of the fifth round of the NBA Development League 2016 draft by the Texas Legends.

NS Matrix’s Seri Mutiara Cup Hopes
Coach says: “It is really hard to estimate our position as the overall standards of the participating teams have sky rocketed since last year. On our own front, we will be looking to give our younger players some exposure at the event. We will bring in some exports to bulk the team as well. Increasing exposure will help increase the depth of the team in general and I thank Dato’ Lee for putting in the funding to support the team and giving us the opportunity to grow into the future.”

NS Matrix’s Strengths
Coach says: “NS Matrix players have very high game IQ. They are very intelligent and this allows us to run many different tactics. I am pleasantly surprised at the speed in which they pick up the finer points of the game. We also have plenty of skillful perimeter shooters that can really open up the play and force opponents to come out more. Some of the local guys I expect to lead the charge are Wing Jiat, Milo, Anthony, Blackie (Zhi Hao), Cobra, Gan (former national team) and Fung. The level of play is high so I expect to find many people coming to watch. The style of play is also going to be very varied. We have big and strong European guys, the tall Chinese players as well as the quick and nimble Japanese and Koreans. The many different styles of player will be exciting for the spectators as well as the players.”

NS Matrix’s Group Stage Fixtures
12/9/2017: NS Matrix (Malaysia) vs Fubon Braves (Taiwan)
13/9/2017: Guangzhou Longlions (China) vs NS Matrix (Malaysia)
14/9/2017: NS Matrix (Malaysia) vs KK Split (Croatia)

Basketball

Malaysia’s wheelchair basketball team target gold for 2017 ASEAN Para Games

The Malaysia Wheelchair Basketball team (MWBF) is determined to one-up their previous achievement at last year’s ASEAN Para Games in Singapore.

The national wheelchair basketball squad had limited training session this year; apart from the Wheelchair Basketball National Champions League in August, they did not participate in any major tournaments.

However, MWBF squad captain Ahmad Nazri Hamzah is positive that they will do well next year.

“Right now we’re focused on improving out techniques and stamina. The main reason we lost to Thailand before was because of weak techniques.” Ahmad Nazri explained.

He also asserted that the wheelchair basketball squad will do their very best for a gold medal this year, especially since Malaysia is the host nation.

The entire Malaysian Para Asean contingent has set a target to finish second in overall standings in next year’s Asean Para Games.

Other sports that are included in the ASEAN Para Games are archery, badminton, boccia, chess, cycling, football five-a-side, CP football, goalball, para powerlifting, sitting volleyball, table tennis, bowling, and wheelchair tennis.

Basketball

3-time MVP Lebron James delivers maiden title to Cleveland

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This year’s NBA finals proved to be the most dramatic ever, as Cleveland Cavalier’s “King” James delivered an all-rounded mighty performance in their 93-89 championship-clinching victory over the Golden States Warriors on Sunday. He was named the Most Valuable Player of the NBA Finals for the third time after his side completed a remarkable comeback from a 3-1 series deficit, the first team to do so.

“We were able to put together some spectacular games down 3-1,” said a tearful James moments after the victory. “This is special.”

I kept that positive attitude. I don’t know why we had to take the hard road. Against all odds.”

“Cleveland, this is for you!” James screamed on the court after the frantic final seconds.

It was an improbable achievement by the Ohio-based team, due to the dominance of their opponent throughout the season. The Warriors broke numerous records on their way to the finals, namely the best regular-season record which was previously held by the Chicago Bulls. They also raced to an early lead in the best-of-seven series final and were tipped by most to retain their title, especially when they came home for Game 5 up 3-1. Stephen Curry and co. still could have won on Sunday night when the score was tied 89-89 with 4 minutes still to play, but they missed their 3-pointers. Cav point guard Kyrie Irving nailed his, and the rest is history.

Basketball

Cavaliers tewaskan Warriors untuk merangkul kejuaraan NBA pertama

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Bintang bola keranjang, LeBron James membantu Cleveland Cavaliers untuk menang 93-89 ke atas Golden State Warriors semalam dalam perlawanan ketujuh yang menakjubkan untuk melengkapkan kebangkitan di luar jangkaan dan merangkul kejuaraan NBA pertama mereka.

Kemenangan ke atas Warriors, yang merangkul kejuaraan tersebut di laman Cleveland tahun lalu, menjadikan Cavaliers pasukan pertama yang menang selepas ketinggalan 3-1 secara defisit dalam kiraan daripada tujuh perlawanan untuk Final NBA dan bergelar juara.

“Saya telah meletakkan sasaran untuk membawa pulang kejuaraan sejak dua tahun selepas kembali ke sini,” kata James dengan penuh emosi, selepas pulang ke Cavalier pada tahun 2014 setelah empat tahun menyertai Miami yang memberikannya dua kejuaraan NBA.

“Saya memberikan segalanya. Saya curahkan jiwa dan raga ke dalam perlawanan ini.”

James mengetuai Cleveland dalam kemenangan yang memberikan kejuaraan ini dengan satu triple-double setelah menjaringkan 27 mata, 11 rebound dan 11 bantuan untuk menjadikannya Pemain Paling Bernilai dalam NBA Finals buat kali ketiga.

Kemenangan itu menamatkan penantian sedekad bandar Cleveland, yang tidak pernah memenangi sebarang kejuaraan profesional sukansejak Cleveland Browns memenangi Liga Bola Sepak Kebangsaan pada tahun 1964.

Untuk James, kemenangan ini bukan sahaja gelaran NBA ketiga beliau, tetapi juga akan dianggap sebagai kejayaan terhebat dalam kariernya kerana dia berjaya menunaikan janjinya untuk memberikan kejuaraan kepada bandar kelahirannya, Ohio.

“Saya kembali bersebab. Saya kembali untuk memberikan kejuaraan kepada bandar kami,” ujar James yang bergenang air mata sambil memeluk Trofi Kejuaraan Larry O’Brien.

“Saya tahu saya mampu. Saya tahu apa yang saya pelajari beberapa tahun selepas saya pergi, dan saya tahu saya mempunyai keupayaan untuk membawa kejayaan yang tak pernah kita kecapi.”

Perlawanan itu berlangsung sengit dengan pertukaran pendahulu sebanyak 20 kali sementara tiada pasukan yang mampu mendahului dengan catatan lebih lapan mata.

Berdepan penyingkiran dalam dua perlawanan terdahulu, James membawa Cavs bangkit semula dan menjadi pasukan ketiga yang berjaya membawa ke perlawanan penentuan ketujuh selepas ketinggalan 3-1 dalam pusingan kejuaraan.

Untuk Warriors, yang mencatatkan 73 kemenangan dalam 82 perlawanan biasa musim, kekalahan semalam merupakan kali pertama mereka tewas tiga perlawanan berturut sejak November 2013.

“Bukan mudah untuk mencapai sasaran kami, dan sukar untuk melihat apa yang kami gagal dapatkan,” kata MVP liga dua kali Stephen Curry, yang memungut 17 mata dalam kekalahan itu.

Selepas melalui musim biasa yang memecahkan banyak rekod, Warriors tidak dapat menamatkan saingan dengan kemenangan kedua berturut liga, gagal menamatkan perlawanan walaupun mendahului 3-1 dalam siri perlawanan terbaik musim.

Kegagalan Warriors disebabkan ketiadaan pertahanan mereka Draymond Green disebabkan penggantungan, kecederaan ke atas Andrew Bogut dan pakar pertahanan Andre Iguodala.

“Satu perjuangan yang hebat tetapi tidak berakhir seperti yang kami mahukan,” ujar ketua jurulatih Warriors Steve Kerr. ‘’ Ia merupakan perjalanan dua tahun yang menakjubkan. Kami kecewa ia tidak berakhir seperti yang kami mahukan, tetapi itulah kehidupan.”

Selepas Warriors mendahului siri 3-1, ramai pihak menganggap Cavs sudah tidak berpeluang lagi dan menyangka Golden State akan muncul juara dengan mudah.

Namun, Cavaliers menunjukkan bahawa mereka mampu menafikan jangkaan ramai dan menujukkan kebangkitan menakjubkan untuk memenangi kejuaraan NBA pertama mereka.

“Saya tahu keupayaan kami, walaupun ketinggalan 3-1 menentang pasukan terhebat musim biasa,” jelas James.

“Semua pihak menafikan peluang kami dan itulah saatnya kami tahu kami boleh bangkit serta itulah masanya saya gandakan usaha di saat semua orang menafikan peluang saya.”

Basketball

“The Conductor” – Nike pays emotional tribute to NBA legend Kobe Bryant

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Every basketball fan went through waves of emotions last week, as Kobe Bryant officially ended his 20-year career in NBA, with a mindblowing 60-points performance.

Irrespective of which team you back, Kobe would have definitely dropped your jaw at some point – he’s an undisputed legend in NBA.

What was more impressive was the manner in which he exited the game. Not only did he produce an astounding performance – hitting 60 points for only the sixth time in his career – Kobe also delivered an inspiring post-game speech. “What can I say, Mamba out!” he said, right at the end of his speech.

Plenty of tributes have poured in since then, but Nike have now opted to pay tribute in two brilliant ways. They’ve released a new shoe called KOBE 11 Avar Muse, which features individual inspiration from design pioneers – including NIKE, Inc. President & CEO Mark Parker, Eric Avar and Tinker Hatfield.

But besides that, Nike also released an inspirational video titled ‘The Conductor’, to showcase the tremendous impact that Kobe has had on players, coaches and everyone involved with the game.

Basketball

#MambaOut: Watch Kobe Bryant’s 10 greatest NBA plays

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What a man, what a legend.

Kobe Bryant bid farewell to NBA earlier today, putting on an outstanding show in his final NBA game. He dropped an incredible 60 points, inspiring the Lakers to a 101-96 win over Utah Jazz!

He took to center court after the game and said: “I can’t believe how fast 20 years went by, man, this is crazy,” Bryant said while addressing the crowd post game. “This is absolutely crazy … and to be standing at center court with you guys, my teammates behind me, appreciating the journey that we’ve been on — we’ve been through our ups, been through our downs. I think the most important part is we all stayed together throughout.”

“What’s funny — the thing that had me cracking up all night long — the fact that I go through 20 years of everybody screaming to pass the ball, and then the last night they’re like, ‘Don’t pass it!,” Bryant enthused.

“All I can do here is thank you guys,” he told the crowd. “Thank you guys for all the years of support. Thank you guys for all the motivation. Thank you for all the inspiration. What can I say? Mamba out,” Bryant said in closing.

With 5 NBA Championships, 18 time NBA All Star, 11 NBA All First Team, 9 NBA Defensive Team, 4 All Star MVP, 1 MVP under his belt, Kobe Bryant will always be remembered by all basketball fans, as one of the greatest to have ever graced the game.

As a tribute to Kobe, we’ve attached a video of his greatest plays in NBA! Full video credit goes to Sportscentre.

 

Basketball

VIDEO: NBA pays tribute to final ‘Kobe vs LeBron’ battle

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When we speak of the NBA this year, we cannot leave out Kobe Bryant as this season would be the last season for the Lakers’ shooting guard.

As emotional it may be for fans all around the world, Bryant is sure of his decision and is trying to make every Lakers’ game count- including the game with Cleveland Cavaliers last week.

The Cavs managed to beat the Lakers 120-108 at the Staples Centre but what made viewers so engrossed in the match was not just Bryant, but also LeBron James.

Cleveland’s King James and Bryant battled against each other for one last time and fans were enthusiastic over the last showdown of the notorious rivalry between the both. The hashtag #KobeVSLeBron and #KOBEvLEBRON trended in the United States for two days and hit the worldwide trends soon after that alongside shaking up the social media.

Some shed tears, some cheered loudly, some just wanted the rivalry to continue because despite it being a rivalry, it was a battle of two purely talented basketball players.

Are you sad to see the end of the 13-year long on-court action between the Lakers legend and King James? Because I know I am.

Photo credits: skidmorenews.com
Photo credits: skidmorenews.com

The NBA official Twitter took the liberty to post a short video of Kobe and LeBron ‘through the years’.

As Mark Jackson would say, “Great players are like death and taxes, sooner or later, they’re gonna get you.”

Great game for the Cavs today but overall, great match for the both of them today.

Basketball

VIDEO: NBA legend Shaq O’Neal surprises kids by joining pickup game

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NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal pulled a major surprise on some neighbourhood kids over the weekend, by joining them in a casual basketball pickup game.

He was responding to a video that went viral recently, featuring a cop in Florida, who was called to deal with a group of children, who were allegedly playing too loudly.

Officer Bobby White, who arrived on the location soon afterwards, was captured on video saying: “Can you believe someone is calling to complain about kids playing basketball in the street. I obviously don’t have a problem with it.”

He went on to join the kids in their pickup game, and before he left, he promised to bring backup the next time he drops by.

So guess who dropped by as backup?