Two more teams will be making their ABL season debuts, as the Westports Malaysia Dragons travel to Bangkok, Thailand to take on the returning Mono Vampire Basketball Club.
Two seasons removed from winning the ABL championship, Malaysia suffered through a difficult title defense campaign, as they finished in 5th place and outright elimination after the regular season. However with only two World Imports and one Heritage import, the local players were able to get valuable experience, which they used when hosting the 2017 SEA Games.
However tragedy struck the team even before they could make their debut, as the Dragons will be without the services of their World Import Solomon Jones, who left the Dragons to return to the USA for personal reasons. Without Jones, more responsibilities will be put on the shoulders of Marcus Marshall, the first time World Import of the Dragons in the ABL. Marshall will be making his professional debut with Malaysia, and will have to take on the scoring and quarterbacking role for the team.
Malaysia will also be welcoming back one if it’s mainstays in Patrick Cabahug. Now a veteran with a career average of 13.1 PPG, he returns to the Dragons, where he played majority of his ABL career. He should feel right at home leading his teammates to success after last season’s tough campaign.
The Dragons will face a Mono Vampire team that is returning after a one season absence. They finished in 5th place in that season, but they were one of the most exciting teams to watch because of crowd favorites like Chitchai Ananti and Kannut Samerjai.
Mono Vampire will also be touting some stars that are near and dear to the hearts of the Malaysia faithful, in former Dragons imports Reggie Johnson and Jason Brickman.
Johnson was named 2015-2016 World Import MVP after averaging 22.2 points and 12.7 rebounds for the Dragons. Brickman on the other hand was one of the most prolific Heritage imports we’ve ever seen in the ABL, the only player to average double figures in assists in league history (10.5 per game). The two will be a formidable duo for the Thailand-based squad.
As one of the mainstays in the ABL since it’s inception, the Dragons will return this season to the MABA stadium, which was the site of their championship in 2016. However things will be different now, as they go up against two imports that helped lead them to a title in Reggie Johnson and Jason Brickman. Which squad will begin their season with a win?
Gametime will be at 3:30 PM (GMT +7) at Stadium29, Bangkok.