I’ve been court side reporting for the Asean Basketball League for the past 5 months or so now and I’m truly very honoured to be apart of this league. Working, watching and talking about one of my favourite sports, that I grew up playing in school and later on just before college life. Through my past time on the court, I’ve learnt a great deal from my buddy and colleague Ben Ibrahim – whom I like to refer to as my basketball si fu. Teaching me the ropes, terms and how to read the game. Playing in school is totally different to watching it mind you.

All things ABL. Interviewing Player of the Game, Coaches and talking some guy stuff with the other commentators 😛

Anyways, I just want to share this article by Ben, which he wrote regarding the ABL Season 4 Playoffs. Let me give a summary first. Altogether 6 teams in the league, it finally boils down to two teams who have clawed their way to the playoffs – the Indonesia Warriors vs the San Miguel Beermen from the Philippines.  The Warriors were champions last year, but looking at how the Beermen have been playing this season – creating history in the league by winning 16 straight games just before the playoffs – the reigning champs could have trouble holding their spot. Anything could happen for the ABL Playoffs remaining last 5 games.

I’ll stop blabbering and let you read Ben’s thoughts 🙂 I do hope you’re enlightened by it and it may intrigued you to want to see what goes on in the league next season.

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Game 3 of the Asean Basketball League (ABL) finals will be played tonight between the San Miguel Beermen (SMB) and the defending champions, Indonesia Warriors.  This time, home court will be in Indonesia’s favour as the first two games were in Manila.  Both teams gave us an incredible display of basketball in games 1 & 2, but both times SMB came up the winner to take a commanding lead, 2-0, in the-best-of-5-series.

In Game 2, the Warriors had chances to win the game, but their poor free throw shooting and their inability to stop SMB from scoring in the paint cost them the game.  SMB scored 17 points through second chance opportunities compared to Indonesia’s 4.  Stan Pringle had a quiet first half, but finished the game strongly with 21 points.   Full credit must be given to Indonesia for fighting SMB all the way in game 2.  Not only do the champions have a thin roster, but also star players John Smith and Jerick Canada got hurt in the second game, so it is unsure if they can both continue playing for the rest of the series.  American imports Steve Thomas and Chris Daniels were also lucky not to be fouled out.  SMB won game 2 by 66-65.

Many people are expecting SMB to close out the series in game 3 tonight, but as they say in sport, “Never underestimate champions”.

The Warriors will put it all on the line tonight, but in my opinion, they must play smart basketball – by shooting well and pushing the Beermen “bigs” (forwards and center) out of the paint.   It sounds straightforward on paper, but SMB have such great depth in their team that they are capable of winning by using a number of tactics.

For SMB, they can’t let complacency sink in.  Coach Leo Austria told me last month, in a pre-game interview, that complacency cost them the finals last year when they were the favourites.  Over these last 3 days, he has constantly reminded his team that they are not champions yet and still have to earn the title.

One man who played a huge part in SMB’s game 2 victory was former Westports Malaysia Dragons star Brian Williams, who scored 17 points and grabbed 16 rebounds.  Williams moved to SMB this season to enhance his chances of winning a championship.   If SMB win, his decision will be vindicated and all their fans can finally say SMB are the kings of ASEAN basketball.

– Ben Ibrahim is the ABL Malaysia TV Host & Game Commentator.  He can be contacted on twitter @benibrahim

 

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