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ABL

ABL enters eighth season with record nine teams

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The ASEAN Basketball League is about to make another historic stride forward

Southeast Asia’s first and only professional regional league is about to enter its eighth year, and the upcoming 2017-2018 season is a record-breaking one, as nine teams will slug it out for basketball supremacy in the region.

Five teams are set to return for this season. Hong Kong Eastern will look to defend their crown against familiar foes Singapore Slingers, Westports Malaysia Dragons, Saigon Heat, and Filipino club Alab Pilipinas.

But Hong Kong’s title defense will surely be harder this year, as four new teams — CLS Knights Indonesia; Mono Vampire BC of Thailand; Formosa Dreamers of Taiwan; and Nanhai Long Lions of China — will all stand in their way.

The inclusion of CLS Knights, Indonesia’s oldest and most storied club team, for this year’s salvo is surprising, as they opted to bolt from the Indonesian League — where they are one of the most formidable teams — to play in the ABL.

Mono Vampire BC, meanwhile, marks the return of Thailand into the regional cagefest. The club team is coming off a commendable showing in the recently-concluded 2017 FIBA Asia Champions Cup, where they finished sixth.

The Formosa Dreamers will replace last year’s bottom-ranked team Kaohsiung Truth as Taiwan’s representative this season. The newly-formed squad will be hosting their games in Changhua City.

And coming from China are the Nanhai Long Lions, who look to use the team as a vessel to give more opportunities for local players in the basketball-crazed nation.

These notable expansions will further the reach of the ABL, giving a chance for fans of the sport all over the region to experience highly competitive and entertaining basketball.

For this year, the teams will be divided into three groups and will play a total of 20 games — 10 at home and 10 away — over the course of the season. The top two teams in the overall standings will head straight into the semis.

The third to sixth placers, on the other hand, will first have to compete in the quarterfinals. The playoffs’ first two rounds will be a best-of-three contest, and will ultimately become a best-of-five series in the title match.

The 2017-2018 season of the ABL will raise its curtains on November 17 in China, as Nanhai will host Singapore.

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ABL

Blistering Mikey Williams takes home Heritage Import of the Week honor

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Photo from ASEAN Basketball League

The resurgent Saigon Heat have been the thorn to topflight clubs teams Hong Kong Eastern Basketball Club and Nanhai Kung Fu, handing both squads their first losses in the eighth season of the ASEAN Basketball League. The Heat would not have done it without Filipino-American import Mikey Williams.

Williams, a 6-foot-2 guard out of Cal State Fullerton, dropped 39 points on 14-for-25 shooting to go along with seven rebounds and nine assists in Saigon’s 121-115 overtime win over Hong Kong.

The former NBA G-Leaguer followed it up with a sensational 24-point, five-rebound, and seven-assist outing in their 96-93 win over Kung Fu.

Overall, the 26-year-old guard averaged 31.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, 8.0 assists, and 1.0 steals to edge out fellow Filipino AJ Mandani of the Singapore Slingers for the weekly award.

For the Local Player of the Week, two Alab Pilipinas stalwarts were the runners-up for the crown.

Reigning local Most Valuable Player Bobby Ray Parks, Jr. and his floor general Josh Urbiztondo had stellar weeks that earned them honorable mentions.

Parks averaged 17.5 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 5.0 assists for the week that saw Alab lose to the Slingers at home last Wednesday before bouncing back on the road against the Mono Vampire last Sunday.

Urbiztondo, on the other hand, had norms of 14.5 points on a hot 9-for-17 clip from downtown.

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Ray Parks, Josh Urbiztondo torch Mono, lead Alab to bounce back win

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Photo by ASEAN Basketball League

Coming off a frustrating home loss to the Singapore Slingers last Wednesday, skipper Bobby Ray Parks, Jr. and Tanduay Alab Pilipinas vented their ire with a huge statement win at the expense of the streaking Mono Vampire Basketball Club, 114-87, Sunday evening at Stadium 29 in Bangkok, Thailand.

The win lifted Alab’s slate to an even 4-4, a full game behind the fourth-running Saigon Heat. Moreover, Alab was able to snap Mono’s three game winning streak.

After scoring 16 points in their 80-90 loss to the Slingers, Parks, Jr. was able to follow it up with a sensational 19 point outing. The reigning Local Most Valuable Player added seven rebounds, six assists, and a block to his statline.

The second generation cager provided the spark in the opening frame, scoring 10 points in the opening frame to give the road team a strong start.

Josh Urbiztondo followed it up in the second frame, dropping nine points in the second quarter. He finished the game with 17 markers, spiked by five triples.

Alab never looked back, leading by as much as 33 points, 104-71, after a Justin Brownlee bucket with 6:58 left.

Brownlee flirted with a triple-double, tallying a game-high 29 points to go along with eight rebounds and nine assists. Fellow World Import Renaldo Balkman had an efficent outing with 14 points on 7-for-11 shooting, seven rebounds, and five assists in just 23 minutes of game time.

As a team, Alab knocked down 14 triples with the troika of Parks, Urbiztondo, and Brownlee combining for 11.

Filipino export Paul Zamar paced Mono with 20 points on 6-for-11 shooting. The same could not be said for Filipino-American Jason Brickman, as he played his worst outing so far, ending the game with just seven points and a personal-low of three assists.

Former Mighty Sports-Philippines player Mike Singletary had 24 points on 22 attempts and 11 rebounds.

Alab will visit Indonesia for the first time this season on Saturday, January 20, to take on the CLS Knights.

The Scores:

Tanduay Alab 114 — Brownlee 29, Parks 19, Urbiztondo 17, Balkman 14, Raymundo 10, Maierhofer 7, Javelona 6, Alabanza 4, Domingo 4, Celiz 2, Hontiveros 2, Sumalinog 0.

Mono 87 — Singletary 24, Zamar 20, Deguara 17, Brickman 7, Boonyai 5, Ananti 4, Chanthachon 3, Apiromvilaichai 2, Khukhandhin 2, Phuangla 2, Samerjai 1, Kruatiwa 0.

Quarterscores: 32-22, 54-37, 88-62, 114-87.

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Joshua Munzon picks up first win since returning to Westsports

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It took three games before Joshua Munzon picked up his first win in his second stint with the Westsports Malaysia Dragons

The Dragons snapped their four-game losing streak after hammering the struggling Formosa Dreamers, 84-74, Sunday afternoon at the MABA Stadium in Malaysia.

Munzon, who returned to Westsports Malaysia last January 3, finished with 17 points, six rebounds, and four assists. Moreover, the title-holder for most steals in a season was able to force five turnovers in the contest in 37 minutes of action.

The 22-year-old averaged 26.5 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 4.0 assists prior to this game.

As he struggled from the field in the final frame, the versatile Filipino-American forward did the little things to help Westsports pull away late.

A three-pointer Marcus Marshall with 7:19 left proved to be the go-ahead bucket for Westsports. The Dragons led by as much as 10 points, 69-59, in the contest.

Behind Lenny Williams and the debuting Ronnie Aguilar, Formosa was able to slice the lead to as low as three points, 75-71, with 1:07 remaining. Free throws by AJ West and Marshall in the end game however held off the Dreamers.

With the win, Westsports raised their slate to 2-4. Formosa dropped to 1-7.

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Mikey Williams outduels Mikh McKinney as Saigon ends another streak

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Photo by ASEAN Basketball League

It looks like there’s a new powerhouse on the rise

Ever since they tapped Filipino-American Mikey Williams, the Saigon Heat ended two undefeated runs in the ASEAN Basketball League. After the Heat ended Hong Kong Eastern Basketball Club’s unbeaten run, they took down Chongson Kung Fu Basketball Club, 96-93, Saturday night at home in CIS Arena in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.

Their win over Kung Fu serves as a perfect follow-up to their impressive showing against another previously-unbeaten team in Hong Kong Eastern, 121-115, last Tuesday at the Southorn Stadium in Wanchai City.

The foreign reinforcements continue to deliver the goods for the now-4-2 Saigon.

Williams had 24 points, five boards, and seven dimes, while World Import Maxie Esho top-billed with 35 points and 12 rebounds.

The neophyte Chinese ball club had actually been on the cusp of maintaining their win-loss slate intact after World Import Anthony Tucker swished in a three-pointer to put his team up, 93-92, with just 21 seconds remaining.

But Saigon displayed more will and did not show any sign of crumbling. Moses Morgan hit a jumper with 18 ticks left, and Akeem Scott scored off a lay-up moments later to put the Heat up three with 14 seconds left to play.

Kung Fu tried to save their immaculate record, but Fil-Am cager Mikh McKinney’s shot missed and sealed the deal for Saigon.

Scott finished with 16 points for the storied Vietnamese ball club, who had another impressive offensive night, as they made 52 percent of their shots from the floor. David Viet Arnold supplied 11 markers and six caroms.

Fil-Am Caelan Tiongson led Chongson with 23 points on 58 percent shooting and seven rebounds in a losing effort. Tucker and Justin Howard finished with 22 points each and combined for 24 of the team’s 40 boards.

McKinney rounded up Kung Fu’s scoring leaders with 20 markers on 15 shots.

Chongson dropped to 4-1.

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