The first game of the CLS Knights would go down as a dominant win for the rookie squad but they were tested by fate and by the Formosa Dreamers before they bagged a 94-73 victory, Saturday night at GOR CLS Kertajaya.
The Knights, representing Indonesia after the country’s two-year absence in the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL), used a big second quarter to create the separation they wanted against the Dreamers.
Led by Brian Williams who filled the stat sheet with 13 points, 6 rebounds, and 6 assists in the first half of play, CLS took a 59-38 advantage at the half. However, the Knights would not get anything else from the ABL veteran as he did not play for the remainder of the game as he apparently suffered a foot injury.
Duke Crews took matters into his own hands in the third quarter as the only World import on the floor for CLS but they would be tested even more as even he had to check out for good after suffering a left leg injury after scoring a tip-in to give the Knights a 71-51 lead.
Luckily for the Knights and their hometown fans in the sold out arena, their Heritage import Freddie Goldstein and their locals had more than enough ammunition to keep the Dreamers at bay in the final period.
CLS had four players scoring in double digits as Crews top-scored with 16 points while Goldstein and Kaleb Ramot Gemilang both chipping in 14 points, and Williams adding 13 markers in only 15 minutes of play. The sweet-shooting Sandy Kurniawan finished a point short of double-digits as he made three triples in the contest.
Former ABL MVP Mario Wuysang did not shoot well from the field but he provided the leadership for the young franchise. The veteran guard only had 3 points in the contest but added 6 rebounds and 7 assists.
“We already practiced hard for two months and I saw how they gave their effort as it’s a great honor for them to play in the ABL,” said CLS head coach Koko Hery Setyu Negroho.
“I’m happy because this is my first time to become a head coach but it’s a long season and this is only the first game. We have to collect more Ws.”
It was a tough outing for Formosa as they were left shell-shocked in the second quarter. They banked on their World imports Jaleel Cousins (22 points and 15 rebounds) and Lenny Daniel (17 points and 7 rebounds). They were backed up by Chai Wei with 11 points but did not get enough from Heritage import James Forrester who only scored 7.