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The M1NSL Grand Final Line-up Is Set

Blaze Dolphins will take on reigning champions Sneakers Stingrays for the title next week

With less than 24 hours to recover and regroup Blaze Dolphins and Magic Marlins were back on court at Toa Payoh Sports Hall to fight for the last spot in next week’s Grand Final.

Both teams were desperate for a chance to contest for the title and the winning share of the $30,000 prize purse next week. In a highly entertaining match, it was Blaze Dolphins that played with the intensity and passion that was required to prove worthy finalists (see match scores and report below).

First on court were Mission Mannas and 2016 debutants Fier Orcas, playing for pride and to settle the standings for 5th and 6th position in this years league.

5th/6th play off: Mission Mannas 50-38 Fier Orcas (HT 28-14)
Q1: 11-7
Q2: 17-7 (28-14)
Q3: 5-14 (33-28)
Q4: 17-10 (50-38)

In their two previous meetings this season, it was Mannas who have come out on top, and today’s 5th/6th play-off was no different with a 50-38 victory.

Fier Orcas – without a win this season – did their best to disrupt Manna’s flowing and focused attack. But the 2014 Champions played with poise and control in the first half, and their mid-court combination of Nurul Baizura and Fijian Alesi Waqa stood out and dominated their territory, making it very hard for the Orcas to get into their own rhythm.

The second half started in quite a different manner – Orcas regrouped and took the third quarter 5-14 to leave just a five-goal margin with the final period ahead. However the experience of the Mannas shone through again in the last quarter as Orcas faded and couldn’t maintain the tempo of their opponents.

Prelim: Magic Marlins 41-43 Blaze Dolphins (HT 30-19)
Q1: 14-13
Q2: 16-6 (30-19)
Q3: 6-12 (36-31)
Q4: 5-12 (41-43)

There was nothing but one point between the two sides after the opening quarter – Marlins holding the advantage (14-13) in a frantic end-to-end exchange. They carried that momentum into the second quarter with sharp passing and accurate shooting while Blaze heads and focus seemed to drop. Marlins had worked hard for a 30-19 advantage at the break.

The advantage was eaten into a little by Blaze in the third quarter as errors came into play on both sides. Blaze won the period 6-12 to trail by just four points.

They kept the pressure on Marlins in the final quarter and drew level with six minutes left to play. Pamela Liew missed two consecutive shots on goal for Marlins and Cassandra Soh took her opportunity well to put them in front for first time in the match.

Both teams looked exhausted but dug deep and fought all the way. With two minutes to go and the score tied at 40-40, Blaze slotted one in, Marlins missed and Blaze struck again to hang on for the win 41-43.

Lin Qingyi, Blaze Dolphins captain, was delighted but also surprised with the result. She said, “I told the girls we needed to start stronger than we had done in previous games but we didn’t. By half time I thought it was over but I am very impressed by how we fought back and played so well today. They [Marlins] missed some crucial shots when they shouldn’t have been missing and we got lucky on our side.”

Looking ahead to the grand final next week against Sneakers Stingrays she said, “It is always great to make the NSL finals. We have been spectating the last few years so it’s great to get a chance to contest it on court. We need to brush up on a few things, we are the under dogs but like today we just need to go out and give it our best.”

M1 NSL Grand Final
Saturday 14th May 
2pm, Toa Payoh Sports Hall