PETALING JAYA: Westports Malaysia Dragons are looking at some positives despite their early season struggles in the Asean Basketball League (ABL).
The Dragons, who have lost their last three matches, have benefited from a tougher playing schedule as their locals have started to show a marked improvement when put out on court.
Dragons head coach Chris Thomas believes two of his locals – Ting Chun Hong and Ivan Yeo – have definitely proven they deserve to play more.
The 21-year-old Chun Hong has been the Dragons’ best local so far, averaging 11.2 points after just four matches.
The 24-year-old Ivan has proven to be a handful as a stretch forward, boasting a 41.7% shooting from three-point range this season.
The duo’s progress is certainly a relief for the Dragons who have to make do without two seniors – Loh Shee Fai and Ma Chee Kheun – who have both taken indefinite leave from the team.
Shee Fai has a niggling knee problem while Chee Kheun is back in Miri after his wife gave birth to their first child.
“Chun Hong has been fantastic. At any level of basketball, you have to earn your minutes and he’s really earned it.
“As a coach, we want someone we can depend on and he’s really reliable.
“But it’s just the beginning for him.
“His potential is just being tapped and it will be reflected over the course of the season as his place in the team continues to grow.
“As for Ivan, I think he turned a quarter mid-way through last season and he has continued his progress.
“He’s proven that he can guard imports, get the rebounds and do the little things off the bench.
“We’ve worked on stretching his range and it’s impressive that he can step outside for the shot but still take care of business around the rim.
“With these two, as well as young guys like (Heng) Yee Tong and (Phan) Wee Chen, I’m not too worried about depth in the team,” added Thomas.
The Dragons certainly need their locals to step up as they look to arrest their slide in the nine-team league.
They head to Bangkok for another face-off with the Vampire tomorrow before welcoming Taiwan’s Formosa Dreamers at the Maba Stadium on Sunday.
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