The ABL’s eighth season started with a bang last week as six of the nine teams saw action. We saw three new squads – CLS Knights Indonesia, Chong Son Kung Fu Basketball Club, and the Formosa Dreamers – make their much-awaited debuts. We also witnessed the Hong Kong Eastern Basketball Team start quest in being the first team to successfully defend the title. There were familiar faces all around who still play with the same vigor and passion. And there were new faces as well, hoping to be the next wave to #MakeHistory in the ABL.
Let’s see what happened in the first week of the 2017-2018 ABL season:
- Hong Kong Eastern Basketball Team (Record: 1-0)
The reigning kings of the ABL began their quest for a second straight championship in their opener against Tanduay Alab Pilipinas. The Philippine team showcased a revamped roster, a new coach, and gave the champions a run for their money.
Eastern managed to pull away thanks to the herculean efforts of their two imports, Marcus Elliott and newcomer Christian Stanhardinger. Elliott flirted with a triple-double, racking up 25 points, eight rebounds, and nine assists. Fil-German Stanhardinger was in his home country, and he put up one heck of a show for the fans. He ended up with 26 points and 14 boards, and provided Eastern clutch buckets in the endgame.
- CLS Knights Indonesia (Record: 1-0)
After a two-year absence, Indonesia is back to being represented in the ABL. The CLS Knights manhandled the Formosa Dreamers in their first game, 94-73. It was a balanced effort for the Knights as four players ended up in double-figures and all players got themselves on the scoreboard. Duke Crews powered his way to 16 points and 10 rebounds but was unfortunately injured before the end of the first half along with fellow import Brian Williams. The Knights used a strong second quarter from their local players to overwhelm the Dreamers, outscoring them, 27-10.
That burst would be enough to give CLS Knights their debut win on their home turf.
- Chong Son Kung Fu Basketball Club (Record: 1-0)
The brand new ABL season kicked off last Friday with the Chong Son Kung Fu Basketball Club sending shockwaves to the entire league with a resounding win over the Singapore Slingers. The rookie squad from China battled toe-to-toe with the league’s runners-up in the past two season and showed no mercy, coming away with the 83-59 win.
Anthony Tucker was an absolute beast as he had a 31-point and 10-rebound outing. Justin Howard, a former Slinger, was his usual self, pouring in 15 points and 14 boards against his old team.
- Tanduay Alab Pilipinas (Record: 0-1)
Tanduay Alab Pilipinas put up a valiant effort against the defending champions. Even though they lost, they proved that they could keep up with the best of the league.
The Philippine team have two new World Imports this season and they did not disappoint. Reggie Okosa netted 28 points while intimidating big man Ivan Johnson had 17. The two imports also combined for 27 rebounds.
Aside from the imports, last season’s local MVP Ray Parks looks to build on his performance from last year. Now on his second stint with Alab, Parks had a 17-point output in his first game.
- Formosa Dreamers (Record: 0-1)
The Formosa Dreamers may have had a quiet opening game, but they did have positives that they can take away from their road trip.
Jaleel Cousins had a solid double-double performance of 22 points and 15 rebounds in his ABL debut. Lenny Daniel may have found a new home in Taiwan after his two-year stay playing for the Saigon Heat. The versatile big man racked up 17 points and seven boards in his first game for the Dreamers.
- Singapore Slingers (Record: 0-1)
It was a disappointing first game for the Singapore Slingers to say the least. As finalists in the last two seasons, the Slingers did not look their usual selves in the rout against the Chong Son Kung Fu Basketball Club.
Ryan Wright did provide 26 points and 11 rebounds while veteran Xavier Alexander had an all-around effort of 14 points, seven rebounds, and eight dimes. Unfortunately, the locals of the Slingers weren’t able to put up the same effort as no other player reached double-figures.
The Saigon Heat, Westports Malaysia Dragons, and Mono Vampires have yet to play a game this week and therefore are not yet ranked.