Head coach Ariel Vanguardia believes the combination of young and senior players in the team would definitely be an advantage to pursue their goal.
“I’m really happy with the team’s progress right now. In the past six weeks of training I have seen their potential. There is a lot of promise and potential in the team because in my three years here, I have never been this excited with the team.
“They’re young, energetic and willing to learn. I feel we have a team that might pull out a lot of surprises this year,” he told reporters at the team’s official launch here, Thursday.
Vanguardia said although in the team had only managed to make it to the semi-finals, this year would be a fantastic season for the team.
Among the local players making a comeback to the team are John Ng Yaw Seng, Kwaan Yoong Jing, Loh Shee Fai, Kuek Tian Yuan and Izran Edika Kamaruddin while the new additions are Tong Wen Keong, Yim Shen Hao and Wong Wee Seng, including two American imports, Shris Eversly and Justin Knox.
“We will take one game at a time. The whole team, including the coach are confident of winning the title this year,” said team skipper Ban Sin Ooi.
This year’s ABL sees participation of several major teams in the Southeast Asian region such as Singapore Slingers, Indonesia Warriors and Saigon Heat; including newcomers Laskar Dreya South Sumatra and HiTech Bangkok City.
The Dragons will open their campaign against HiTech Bangkok City in Bangkok on July 16 before facing Singapore Slingers in Singapore on July 27 while the team’s first home match will be on Aug 2, at the Malaysia Basketball Association (MABA) Stadium, against Indonesia Warriors.
Meanwhile, Deputy President and Co-Founder of Westports Malaysia Dragon Ruben Emir Gnanalingam said there were plans to collaborate with the Education Ministry, MABA and Klang Basketball Association to have a 10-week basketball development programme.
“The development programme is especially targeted at schools that have no knowledge or experience in basketball. Ten schools will be adopted to participate in the programme and at the end of the programme they will participate in a mini tournament,” he said.