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Marbury & Beijing BRCB win Seri Mutiara Cup 2017 — Results & review

seri mutiara cup 2017 champion winners beijing brcb fly dragons stephon marbury

2017 Seri Mutiara Champions Cup saw the highest level of basketball ever in Malaysia


Seri Mutiara Cup 2017 finished with a highly entertaining and intense battle in the final between China's Beijing BRCB Fly Dragons from the CBA and Croatia's KK Split from the EuroLeague. The latter led by 5 points at half time but the Chinese side came out stronger in the second half and ultimately won the game with the final scoreline 80 - 73 to become the champions of the tournament.

The tournament's headliner — former NBA star and CBA legendary point guard, Stephon Marbury — struggled with his shots from mid-range and beyond the arc but managed to help the Fly Dragons run some key plays with the big men and wowed the crowd with a few strong drives to the hoop and layups. He finished the game with 9 points, 7 rebounds, 6 assists and a steal before getting completely swarmed by fans in Malaysia for photos.

kk split mate kalajzic beijing brcb stephon marbury seri mutiara cup 2017 kl malaysia

The crowd and myself were also very impressed by the dazzling plays by Split's point guard Mate Kalajzic who gave his team the much needed penetrations to the basket, drawing defenders and making beautiful dishes. He finished with 8 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds.

The Final MVP was awarded to the champion's Yang Chin Min (from Taiwan) who had 21 points on 66% field goal, 5 rebounds and 1 assist. His teammate Ronald Shavlik Randolph finished with a double-double — 21 points on 38% field goal, 10 rebounds, 2 steal, 1 block and 1 assist. Many may not know this (neither did I) but Randolph had an on-and-off career in the NBA and actually appeared in 10 regular seasons there.

seri mutiara cup 2017 mvp winner yang chin min dunk contest kyle richardson three-point ryo yamazaki

Our home team NS Matrix finished at 4th place in the tournament after their defeat against Korea's LG Sakers in the 3rd to 4th Placing match. The Sakers had strong imports such as two-time NBA champion Josh Powell on their roster but decided to field only their local players who had been deep on the bench and yet it was enough to beat the Matrix's usual lineup of star imports. As the tournament's top scorer Keith Hornsby (current NBA G-League player) struggled to find the same kind of rhythm he had in the previous matches, the Koreans put on an incredible display of fluid team plays, outside-shooting and multiple euro-step layups in the second half to beat the Matrix 85 to 69.

Of course, the tournament wouldn't have been as fun and exciting without some controversies and thought-provoking "what if's". KK Split's buzzer-beating victory over LG Sakers in their semi-final match was questionable as the ball looked to be still in Filip Najev's hands when board turned red (refer to images below). If that final shot wasn't counted, the game would've gone to overtime with the scoreline at 76-76. During the post-match press conference, I asked Sakers' captain Cho Sung Ming if he felt that the shot should've counted and he said no but he "doesn't really care because it was only a pre-season game". He added that his team should've finished the game instead of giving Split that buzzer-winning opportunity.

croatia kk split vs korea lg sakers filip najev buzzer seri mutiara cup 2017 kl malaysia

Japan's B.League champion Link Tochigi Brex finished at 5th place but was the only the team in the tournament who managed to beat the Beijing Fly Dragons. Three out of four teams in their group (A) had a total of two wins at the end of the group stages but the Japanese side failed to go through the semi-finals due fewer total points compared to the Fly Dragons and the Sakers. I wonder if the Brex team knew they were still behind on total points during the final minutes in their last group stage game against the Fly Dragons.

Held at MABA Stadium in Kuala Lumpur from September 12th to 17th, this third annual international basketball tournament was hosted by NBL Asia and sponsored by Seri Mutiara. It was packed with high-level basketball matches featuring eight teams from top professional leagues around the world — the other three being Guangzhou Securities Long-Lions (another CBA team), Taiwan's Fubon Braves and Nigeria's Kano Pillars who finished 6th, 7th and 8th place respectively in the tournament.

On the last two days of the tournament, there was a Slam Dunk Contest (check out all the dunks in the video below, all shot closeup to the action with my phone) and a Three-Point Shootout Challenge which were won by Kyle Richardson and Ryo Yamazaki respectively, both from Link Tochigi Brex. There was also a fan challenge during half-times where one of the fans from the audience won a fully sponsored trip to China after winning a shootout contest against other finalists (scoring a layup, a free throw and a three pointer consecutively without missing).



Final thoughts: The level of basketball in this tournament was definitely the highest I've ever seen live in Malaysia. I mean, come on, professional teams from China, Europe, Japan, Taiwan, Nigeria and Malaysia with former NBA stars playing against each other competitively (even though it's pre-season to them) — it's like a dream come true for long-time fans of the sport like myself! I was absolutely blown away by the performances of the participating teams and their players, and not to mention about getting to meet world class players like Marbury and Yuta Tabuse whom I admired growing up. I totally enjoyed the whole tournament and watching these games have reignited the passion and fanboy-ism in me that was lost for a while. I certainly hope we'd get to experience the same or better next year.

Seri Mutiara Cup 2017 - All Results & Scores


DAY 5
[Final] Beijing BRCB Fly Dragons 80 - 73 KK Split
[MVP Award] Winner: Yang Chin Min (Beijing BRCB Fly Dragons)
[Three-point Shootout] Winner: Ryo Yamazaka (Link Tochigi Brex)
[3rd/4th Placing] NS Matrix 85 - 69 LG Sakers

DAY 4
[Semi-Final 1] Beijing BRCB Fly Dragons 96 - 93 NS Matrix
[Semi-Final 2] LG Sakers 76 - 79 KK Split
[Slamdunk Contest] Winner: Kyle Richardson (Link Tochigi Brex)
[5th/6th Placing] Guangzhou Securities Long-Lions 74 - 77 Link Tochigi Brex
[7th/8th Placing] Kano Pillars 68 - 107 Fubon Braves

DAY 3
[Group B] Fubon Braves 92 - 93 Guangzhou Securities Long-Lions
[Group B] NS Matrix 93 - 102 KK Split
[Group A] Kano Pillars 69 - 90 LG Sakers
[Group A] Link Tochigi Brex 83 - 73 Beijing BRCB Fly Dragons

DAY 2
[Group A] Beijing BRCB Fly Dragons 71 - 59 Kano Pillars
[Group B] Fubon Braves 90 - 89 KK Split
[Group B] Guangzhou Securities Long-Lions 79 - 93 NS Matrix
[Group A] Link Tochigi Brex 59 - 75 LG Sakers

DAY 1
[Group A] Kano Pillars 69 - 75 Link Tochigi Brex
[Group A] LG Sakers 69 - 82 Beijing BRCB Fly Dragons
[Group B] KK Split 77 - 51 Guangzhou Securities Long-Lions
[Group B] NS Matrix 100 - 91 Fubon Braves

stephon marbury kl malaysia seri mutiara cup 2017 maba

yuta tabuse kl malaysia seri mutiara cup 2017 maba

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