The CLS Knights Indonesia are hosting for the first time in the ninth season of the ASEAN Basketball League as they welcome Hong Kong Eastern.
The Knights looked like a different team from their performance last season when they played against the Saigon Heat in Vietnam. Powered by Maxie Esho, who’s on his second tour of duty in the ABL, CLS took it to the Heat in the first half. However, they ran out of steam in the end game as they settled for one-on-one attacks instead of allowing their offense to flow through their ball movement.
They ended up losing their first game of the season, 82-80, even if they led by 15 points.
Still, their performance should keep the Knights hopeful for a much better season as they looked like a team that only needed to build chemistry to be successful as they had good pieces. Aside from Esho’s 27 points, CLS also got double-digit scoring games from Montay Brandon and Brandon Jawato who had 17 and 13 markers, respectively. Their big man Stephen Hurt settled for jump shots for much of the game to end up only with nine points although he grabbed 16 rebounds.
Hong Kong Eastern, on the other end, is looking for a bounce-back win as they lost at home to the new-look Formosa Dreamers.
After a strong performance against the Wolf Warriors that earned him Player of the Week honors, Eric Ferguson fell flat against the Dreamers as he only scored 9 points on 3 of 9 shooting from the field, 17 points less than what he had in Zhuhai.
Marcus Elliott flashed his deadly form with 26 points, nine rebounds, and five assists but the help was lacking from his fellow imports and moreso their locals with Lee Ki and Chan Siu Wing only combining for 11 points.
The interesting matchup here is Hurt versus Sam Deguara as the import of CLS might have to bait Hong Kong Eastern’s behemoth to defending him outside. If Hurt’s mid-range and three-point shots fall consistently, it could be a problem for Hong Kong Eastern.
Will the CLS Knights Indonesia grab their first win of the season or will Hong Kong Eastern get back into the winning side? These two teams will lock horns on November 24, 7:00 pm, at the GOR CLS Kertajaya in Surabaya.