THE PBA D-League will have an international flavor once the 2016 Foundation Cup opens shop this May. Newly-crowned ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) champions Westports Malaysia Dragons has been admitted as a guest entry and will carry the colors of Blustar Detergent.
Local fans will now have more chances to take a look at PBA prospects swingman Matthew Wright and guard Jason Brickman, the Dragons’ pair of foreign-bred Filipino imports who played key roles in their championship run earlier this month. Wright got the nod as ASEAN Heritage MVP and led the ABL in scoring with 23.1 a game while Brickman was named as Finals MVP as the Dragons defeated the Singapore Slingers in the best-of-five series, 3-2.
However, the Dragons were not allowed to bring in their two tall American reinforcements Calvin Godfrey and Reginald Johnson. Therefore, Coach Ariel Vanguardia will have to do with the two Filipinos and his Malaysian core.
Aside from Brickman and Wright, the Dragons will composed of forwards Choo Wei Hong, Izran Edika Bin Karamuddin, Ivan Yeo and Kuek Tian Yuan, guards Wong Yim Hou, Loh Shee Fai, Tung Chee Keong, Ma Chee Kheun and Wong Wee Seng and centers Kwaan Yoong Jin and Joe Foong. Assisting Coach Vanguardia is fellow Filipino Tino Pinat.
Blustar of businessman Dioceldo Sy carries with it a rich tradition dating back to the days of the old Philippine Basketball League (PBL) where the brand fielded an entry a decade ago. In 2011, Sy formed D-League pioneer team Blackwater Elite that competed for seven straight conferences highlighted by its winning the 2013 Foundation Cup and eventually graduating to the PBA for the 2014-2015 season.
The CafeFrance Bakers are the Foundation Cup’s defending champions. Bannered by the core of many-time NAASCU champion Centro Escolar University, the wards of Coach Edgar Macaraya defeated the Hapee Fresh Fighters in a thrilling best-of-three series last June, 2-1.