The tenth season of the ABL kicks off today with the Macau Black Bears squaring up against the league’s newest team, the Taipei Fubon Braves, at 4:00PM (GMT+8).
Macau is coming off a stellar preseason showing as they were able to handily beat the Singapore Slingers behind Mikh McKinney’s offensive prowess. The team is hoping to start this season’s campaign on a high note as Anthony Tucker and Ryan Watkins’ departures left a sizeable gap but McKinney has proven that he has what it takes to carry the load on that end as he led the league in scoring last season.
However, a team’s success cannot be placed squarely on the shoulders of one man and the exit of the two imports was a hard blow for the squad. However, they brought in highly capable replacements in the form of Brandon Edwards and Kenny Manigault. The two new imports are relatively young, 24 and 28 respectively, but they will need to adjust quickly to the pace of the game in the league.
For the Taipei Fubon Braves, they are coming off a championship season in their domestic league and are looking to capitalize off their success and bring it into the ASEAN Basketball League. The team’s local core features Lin Chih-Chieh, known as “The Beast”, who is known throughout the region as Taipei’s best player. He will be supported by what is possibly the league’s best import trio in the form of Charles Garcia and former NBA players Sim Bhullar and OJ Mayo.
Mayo, who last played in the NBA in the 2015-2016 season, made a name for himself as a great offensive weapon during his time in the league and is now looking forward to the next big chapter in his career with the Braves. Bhullar, who was signed by the Sacramento Kings in 2014, has a definite size advantage when compared to most players in the league as he’s standing in at a whopping 7’5”. The Braves can definitely utilize his size when playing down inside the paint and for gobbling up the rebounds.
With the teams’ great size difference, the Black Bears will be forced to work hard for their rebounds. Edwards is standing at just 6’6” and will most likely be drawing the start at the center position. Bhullar’s 7’5” frame is going to cause problems in the rebounding category and Edwards will have to communicate well with his teammates in order to secure the boards.
Both teams are looking to make a deep run in the postseason and getting the win today is a big step towards that goal.
Watch the game live here: https://aseanbasketballleague.com/event/1453897