We hope all you ABL fans have been enjoying the holidays! And while we’re all missing the basketball action, rest assured that the ABL will be back in a few days.
In the meantime, let’s take a peak where all the teams stand heading into the new year.
- Hong Kong Eastern Basketball Team (Record: 7-0)
Previous Week: 1
Did any team have a better 2017 than the defending champs?
First they win a title, then they enter 2018 with seven straight victories in their second year in the ABL. Their stars are reigning MVPs Tyler Lamb and Marcus Elliott, but we should also acknowledge what local player Lee Ki is doing. With averages of 11.2 points, 1.7 triples and 3.5 rebounds, Lee has been rock solid the entire season for Hong Kong, and one of the most reliable players on their championship team.
Hong Kong Eastern beat the Singapore Slingers in their last game of 2017 and their recent form is convincing enough to have us believe that the wins might keep piling on.
- Chong Son Kung Fu Basketball Club (Record: 3-0)
Previous Week: 2
We sure hope that Chong Son Kung Fu has been staying fit and ready during this long break, because it has been awhile since we’ve seen them play. They plunge back into action on January 6 against CLS Knights, looking to pick up their fourth straight win.
Can you imagine if both Chong Son Kung Fu and Hong Kong Eastern stay undefeated heading into their February 13 matchup? That’s a long time from now, but it’s definitely in play and both teams are more than capable of maintain their record up until then.
- Mono Vampire Basketball Club (Record: 4-3)
Previous Week: 6
Despite not having hulking big man Reggie Johnson, Mono Vampire was still able to grind out a win versus a pesky Saigon Heat team. They did that behind the talented Patrick Sanders and the uber efficient of Teerawat Chanthachon, who’s averaging an astounding 73.9% from the field. Defense continues to be an an issue though, as they give 99.3 points to opponents, which is 3rd most in the league. If they can clean that up moving forward, they should be a much better team than they already are.
- Singapore Slingers (Record: 3-4)
Previous Week: 3
If close victories against Hong Kong could only count as wins, then Singapore would place high in our rankings. But another disappointing 4th quarter sends the squad to under .500 heading into the new year.
Xavier Alexander has been great as always, but their offense always seems to betray them in the 4th quarter. Will they be making a change or changes moving forward?
They could really use one to wake up their season.
- Tanduay Alab Pilipinas (Record: 1-3)
Previous Week: 5
The Philippine-based team got the week off before heading into a busy schedule in January. First they take on the idle Westports Malaysia Dragons at San Juan Arena, then they travel to Singapore to take on the Singapore Slingers once again. The Slingers have proven to be a tough nut for Alab to track, as their losing streak versus Singapore stretches to last season’s playoffs.
Can the team build on their first win of the season and start a winning streak?
Or will they need to move some pieces around to shake things up?
- Saigon Heat (Record: 1-2)
Previous Week: 4
The Heat by all accounts should have two wins this season. However they were unable to take care of business in regulation, and were outscored 17-5 in overtime by Mono Vampire to fall to 1-2. It was unfortunate, because the Heat have looked like a tough nut to crack in all three of their games. The big issue that they have to address is how to keep Akeem Scott in the game.
In their three assignments, Scott has fouled out of two and both were losses. They can’t lose him, because he’s such an important part of their team. Let’s see if he can stay on the floor in their matchup against the Dreamers next week.
- Westports Malaysia Dragons (Record: 1-2)
Previous Week: 6
The Dragons may not have had a game, but they’ve still kept busy trying to improve their team.
News came out this week that former Heritage Import Joshua Munzon will be back, replacing erstwhile import Reil Cervantes. That should help the Dragons shore up their defense, as Munzon was one of the best in that department. Aside from averages of 20.1 points, 4.7 rebounds and 3.0 assists in 12 games with the Dragons last season, Munzon also swiped the ball 2.7 times per contest, and set a record with 61 total steals in his first season in the league. A 100% Marcus Marshall should also help the Dragons improve on their 1-2 record in 2018.
Exciting times for Dragons fans.
- CLS Knights Indonesia (Record: 1-4)
Previous Week: 8
The memory of their impressive first game win against the Dreamers seems like a lost memory at this point. The Knights are still searching for answers on how to end their disappointing 4 game losing streak, especially with how they started so strongly in their first assignment.
The biggest issue is their offense- at 78.8 points per contest, they average the 3rd lowest number of points in the league. Aside from Freddie Goldstein and Brian Williams, the Knights have had problems getting scoring from their players. For a team boasting of several national players in their lineup, Indonesia should be looking much better than their record indicates.
- Formosa Dreamers (Record: 1-4)
Previous Week: 9
World Import Lenny Daniel continues to preach patience with his young squad, and rightfully so.
The Dreamer have been experiencing blowouts left and right, but they showed how explosive they can be in their come from behind win against the Saigon Heat. It’s just a matter of consistency with this young squad. And if they can get better play from World Import Jaleel Cousins, that could be the big improvement they need as they head into the new year.