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Tuesday October 1, 2013 MYT 4:36:00 PM
Tuesday October 1, 2013 MYT 4:41:29 PM
by kng zheng guan
Avery Scharer seems to be a good replacement for star point guard Justin Melton, who has made up his mind to join the Philippines Basketball Association draft next year.
PETALING JAYA: The Westports Malaysia Dragons may have suffered a meltdown in the Malaysian National Basketball League (MNBL) which ended on Sunday, but head coach Ariel Vanguardia is more concerned over putting his team together for next year’s Asean Basketball League (ABL).
The Dragons had the advantage in the MNBL semi-finals with a 81-68 first leg win over the Kelantan Warriors.
But the young Dragons team were woeful in the second leg and lost 74-95. The Warriors went on to win their first MNBL title by beating Farmcochem 78-58 in the final.
Nevertheless, Vanguardia, who only retained three players from the ABL squad – Loh Shee Fai, Kuek Tian Yuen and Kwaan Yoong, believes that his team have already overachieved.
“Our main target prior to the tournament was making the top four with a very inexperienced and young squad. We achieved that and better by becoming the top-ranked team in the league as well and the boys definitely exceeded expectations,” said Vanguardia.
“I have to give credit to the Warriors too because they were amazing and are worthy winners. Their participation in the league is good for Malaysian basketball and hopefully they’ll continue to compete in next year’s MNBL.
“For now the team will go on a break before I’ll try to put the squad back together next week, in preparation for the ABL.”
For starters, the Dragons will lose the services of star point guard Justin Melton, who has made up his mind to join the Philippines Basketball Association (PBA) draft next year.
But while Melton will be a big loss, the strong performances of American-Filipino point guard Avery Scharer during the MNBL suggests that the Dragons will have found an able replacement.
“Justin will be going for the PBA draft and I wish him all the best. Avery though will be a good replacement and negotiations are underway to sign him up for the ABL,” said Vanguardia.
“Besides, we also have Moala (Tautuaa) who will rejoin the team some time in October.
“As for the locals, only Shee Fai, Tian Yuen and (Ooi) Ban Sin are under contract and I am interested in bringing in a few new faces. I will call some of them for the training next week,” added Vanguardia.
Among the local cagers who have caught the eye of the charismatic Dragons coach after the MNBL and last month’s Agong Cup are Foong Min Joe, Wong Yi Hou, Teo Kok Hou, Gan Hong Hoong and Ivan Yeo.
Tags / Keywords:
basketball, Westports Malaysia Dragons, Ariel Vanguardia, Asean Basketball League, Avery Scharer, Justin Melton
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