If you take a peak at last season’s ASEAN Basketball League standings, you will have to scroll towards the bottom to find the Westports Malaysia Dragons. As the previous season’s defending champions, it was a huge fall from grace after they celebrated winning the first championship in the team’s history.
But there has to be some context to their showing last season. The squad prioritized player development, which is why they only had three imports on their roster compared to majority of the leagu that had four. That gave more opportunities to locals like Kuek Tian Yan, Ivan Yeo and Teo Kok Hou to contribute, an investment that would raise their game by the end of the season.
The team was also away from the friendly confines of the MABA Stadium, which was being renovated for the SEA Games in August. The Dragons played in Cyberjaya in front of smaller crowds, far different from the roaring crowds that would regularly pack the Dragons’ Den.
This season promises to be a different one for the Dragons. They will be back at the MABA Stadium, and their squad is fresh from successful stints in the SEA Games and in pocket tournaments in preparation for the upcoming campaign. With a slew of talented World and Heritage imports dotting the roster, the Dragons are eager to return to the Playoffs.
The team is anchored by Marcus Marshall, who will also be making his ABL debut this season with Malaysia. The 6’2 Marshall is making his professional debut with the Dragons after averaging 19.7 points and 3.7 assists with his college team, Nevada. Last season’s spitfire import Kiwi Gardner is no longer on the team, but look for Marshall to provide the same type of electric scoring, while also being able to defend talented World Imports like Marcus Elliott.
Marshall will need help to come in fast with the other World Import slot. The Dragons were able to snag up former NBA-Player Solomon Jones in the offseason, but unfortunate circumstances has forced the team to split ways with their projected Import.
Malaysia will also never lack from scoring, as they have a pair of Filipino Heritage imports on the team in returning veteran Patrick Cabahug and first-timer Reil Cervantes. Cabahug is a veteran of several season in the ABL, as he played for the Dragons from 2010 to 2013. His last stint was with Hi-Tech Bangkok City in the 2014-2015 season, as he was a late call-up in the Playoffs before they were ultimately defeated by the Singapore Slingers. Boasting a career average of 13.1 points on 34.6 three-point shooting, Cabahug will always be ready to put points on the board for the Dragons. Cervantes on the other hand is a bonafide scorer at the forward position, who can catch fire instatntly when in the zone. A veteran of several seasons in the Philippine Basketball Association, Cervantes should be able to provide a much needed scoring punch for the Dragons.
Ultimately though, a lot of the team’s success will be felt if the local players are able to step up. With their stints throughout the year in preparation for the season, it is not foolish to believe that they can take their games to the next level. Joining the Dragons this season is the returning John Ng, a former member of the National team and their team captain this season as well. The 36 year old Ng has been a fixture in Malaysia’s basketball circuit, and will always look to lead his team by example. Ng played in the ABL from for the first five seasons and has played 81 games averaging 3.0 points per game.
On the other spectrum is first timer Phan Wee Chen, the youngest player in the league at 17 years old. Phan played for the Dragons Academy in the Malaysia Pro League, and will look to provide a burst of energy and athleticism as he learns from the veterans on the team.
Several reliables on the Dragons are back for another tour of duty, led by Kuek, Kok Hou, Yeo, Loh Shee Fai, Chun Hong Ting, and Wong Yi Hou. Each of those players had moments of brilliance last season in the ABL, and have also strengthened their games leading up to the season. The only question is whether they will be able to put it all together and provide depth for the Dragons this upcoming season.
From top to bottom, the Westports Malaysia Dragons are stacked, raring to atone for last season’s disappointing stint. With a return to the Dragon’s Den, and a lot of optimism heading into their debut on November 29 at the MABA Stadium, expect the Dragons to breathe fire once again in the ABL.
Westports Malaysia Dragons 2017-2018 Opening Day Roster
|Jersey No.||NAME on TV||Player Category||Height||Date of Birth||Weight|
|0||Kuek Tian Yuan||Local||6’8″||03-Aug-91||200 lbs|
|1||Marcus Marshall||World Import||6’3″||03-May-94||181 lbs|
|7||Teo Kok Hou||Local||5’9″||29-Oct-94||160 lbs|
|8||Heng Yee Tong||Local||5’10”||24-Feb-98||160 lbs|
|9||Patrick Cabahug||Heritage Import||6’2″||23-Jan-84||180 lbs|
|10||Phan Wee Chen||Local||5’11”||11-Dec-00||165 lbs|
|11||Wong Yi Hou||Local||6’5″||05-Jul-96||170 lbs|
|19||John Ng Yeo Seng||Local||6’4″||30-Aug-81||220 lbs|
|20||Loh Shee Fai||Local||6’4″||16-Jan-89||205 lbs|
|26||Reil Cervantes||Heritage Import||6’4″||16-Aug-86||200 lbs|
|27||Ting Chon Hong||Local||6’4″||08-May-96||190 lbs|
|28||Ma Chee Kheun||Local||5’11”||28-Jan-90||160 lbs|
|41||Ivan Yeo||Local||6’6″||02-Mar-93||200 lbs|