The CLS Knights and the Saigon Heat open their respective seasons against one another at the CIS Arena in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam.
The Saigon Heat made the playoffs last year as they finished the regular season with the 6th and final playoff spot by accumulating a team record of 10-10.
The Heat have prepared for the start of the season with some off-season tune up games with the Singapore Slingers and Hong Kong Eastern Basketball Team..
This season, Coach Kyle Julius is fielding an entirely new squad in their effort to improve on last year’s performance. The most important addition for the team is Trevon Hughes. The 6’1″ point guard is expected to bring intensity on the defensive end for the team while also providing offensive firepower, a role similar to Akeem Scott of last season.
The CLS Knights finished last season 5-15 in the win-loss column, which landed them at 7th in the ABL standings and ultimately missing out on the playoffs.
The Knights hope to reverse their fortunes with key additions Maxie Esho and Wong Wei Long.
Maxie Esho averaged double-double figures last season with 26.5 points and 10.2 rebounds a game while playing, ironically, for the Saigon Heat last year. After being a huge part of the Heat’s franchise best record last year, he will start the 2018-2019 season as an opponent instead.
Wong Wei Long missed the 2017-2018 ABL season but is now returning with the CLS Knights after playing for years with the Singapore Slingers. Wei Long will provide stability for the new look CLS Knights backcourt.
Will the new Saigon Heat be able to mesh immediately to earn them a season-opening win or will the addition of Wong and Esho prove to be the key for the CLS Knights success?