KUALA LUMPUR: Westports KL Dragons have set themselves an ambitious target in the second edition of the Asean Basketball League (ABL) starting tomorrow.
Last year, the Dragons were losing semi-finalists and they hope to win the title this time in the six-team competition.
Coach Goh Cheng Huat said that they were optimistic about their chances after winning an invitational ABA championships in Hong Kong on Tuesday with the services of three foreign players.
The Dragons defeated Dongguan New Century of Hong Kong 61-55 in the final.
“We are also well prepared this season as the players have been training together for the last two months,” said Cheng Huat.
For the ABL, the Dragons have the services of five foreigners – Irishmen Jason Killen and Conor Grace and Filipinos Rudy Lingganay, Angelus Santos Raymundo and James Mangahas.
The team will be led by point guard B. Guganeswaran, who has been named as the skipper.
The Dragons will also have new blood in point guard Lau Er Kheng and Izran Edika Kamarrudin, who was named the most valuable player of the Kuala Lumpur non-Chinese League.
The local players retained from last year’s squad are Ho Yew Loong, Kwaan Yoong Jing, John Ng Yeo Seng, Alex Yeow Kee Aik, Chee Li Wei and Loh Shee Fai.
The other teams in the ABL are defending champions Philippine Patriots, Satria Muda BritAma of Indonesia, Singapore Slingers, Brunei Barracudas and newcomers Thailand Cobras.
The Dragons will open their season against Cobras in Bangkok tomorrow.
Cheng Huat warned his players against taking any team lightly in the ABL.
“We started last season on a good note by defeating Barracudas by 20 points in the opening match but then lost the next two matches. We don’t want a repeat of the situation and will take every match seriously,” he said.
Each team will play 15 matches and the top four after completion of a three-round league will qualify for the semi-finals. The semi-finals and final will be played in January.