It may not quite be Piranha 3D but the Brunei Barracudas 2.0 bore their teeth and unveiled their new and improved lineup at their official team launching Sunday afternoon.
In the presence of several high ranking government officials including Distinguished Guest of Honour Dato Hamid Jaafar, Permanent Secretary to the Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports, the Barracudas were paraded before their adoring public with a team that owner Nadzaty Azma Azeez hopes will take the Barracudas to that much-cherished playoff spot.
“When we reflect back on last year, there were so many positives given that nobody expected us to even win one game let alone push the KL Dragons all the way to the last game of the season.
“But when you’re that close and you can taste it, you just want that chance at redemption and we are hopeful that this year’s lineup can push us that much closer to our ultimate aim of making the playoffs,” said the Barracudas supremo.
The Barracudas will be bolstered by American duo Chris Commons and Chris Garnett as well as the Filipino trio of Kevin White, Chester Tolomia and Bryan Faundo.
They will be supported by the same local cast as last year, headed by the ever-reliable Esmond Tan and Benjamin Lim.
It is a new lineup given that the Barracudas have completely revamped their import roster from last year and whether they are an improved lineup remains to be seen, although team manager Benny Ang has no doubts about that.
“We had to revamp the whole line-up, some by choice and some not by choice. We desperately wanted to keep Leo (Avenido) as he is possibly the most outstanding ASEAN player in the league.
“But we just couldn’t match what other teams were offering so we wish him the very best of luck in his new career.
“With Kiko (Adriano) and Don (Camaso), who are both now with Satria Muda Britama, we just felt that with our situation, we needed more youth and energy.
“And with Reggie (Larry) now in Barcelona, there was no way we could honestly try and get him back. But all these four players were unbelievable servants to the Barracudas’ cause last year and we wish them nothing but the very best.
“That said, we are extremely confident that we do have a lineup that can compete with any team in this league. We have had our eye on Chris Commons for a while now and I am so happy that I am able to finally bring him here to play for us.
“Chester (Tolomia), Bryan (Faundo) and Kevin (White) have shown me nothing but the utmost enthusiasm in training so far and perhaps most importantly along with Chris have shown a real desire to lend their expertise and teach the local players.
“Our last import Chris Garnett will join us soon and while it is definitely not ideal that he join us so late, it has not been by choice as the situation with our original choice Kenney Boyd just did not materialize the way we had hoped.
“But maybe it was a blessing in disguse as Chris (Garnett) will give us an amazing presence inside the paint.
“And from what I have seen from the local players so far, they may be more ready than ever to earn their minutes in the matches to come as they grow in confidence,” said the Barracudas manager.
The Barracudas will also be playing under a new head coach, Ozell Wells who despite his tender age of 33 definitely has the experience to lead the Brunei outfit to glory in the upcoming season.
At the spectacular team launching, members of the public were able to win tickets to the Barracudas opening home game as well as other Barracudas memorabilia.
And now the countdown begins despite an unfavourable schedule where the Barracudas have to play the defending champions Philippine Patriots twice in their opening three games.
Added Ang, “The Patriots are still the favourites by a long way although Singapore Slingers with the addition of the Leo Avenido will also be a formidable outfit.
“It’s not ideal that we play the Patriots twice in the opening three matches but then again, there are no easy games in this league so you might as well just focus on playing the very best you can for each game and let the results take care of themselves.”
So with all the pageantry done and dusted, the Brunei basketball public can now look forward to yet another exciting season of ABL basketball.
For more information please contact Kuhan Foo the CEO of the ABL at [email protected] or call at +6012-3311398.