I spent over 4 years in the States for college and work, and was fortunate enough to have spent a year each living with an American family and in the dorm. This was the time I learnt to be appreciate American sports.
The four big professional leagues in the States are then NBA, NFL, MLB, and NHL. There are also a very lively scene in college sports too. However, with the exception of some games on Astro every now and again, they are not very popular here in Malaysia.
in Manila for 24 hr, and on the way back with KL Dragons
Attending games and being able to catch these games live on TV on almost daily basis were pretty much the things I miss most about the States since coming back to Malaysia.
Enter Asean Basketball League, South East Asia’s very own professional basketball league that is currently made up of 6 teams from the region. The teams are:
- KL Dragons
- Philippine Patriots
- Singapore Slingers
- Thailand Tigers
- Brunei Barracudas
- Satria Muda BritAma (Indonesia)
hard fought game between KL Dragons and Philippines Patriots at Manila
I was rather excited that we now have a professional basketball team in KL, and even more stoked when I found out I had a chance to travel to Manila to attend an away game of KL Dragons versus the Philippine Patriots. I jumped to the opportunity even though I know it’ll be a very short and hasty travel.
So the weekend before Christmas I went to Manila for a trip that lasted almost exactly 24 hours to catch the game.
KL Dragons head coach Mr. Goh Cheng Huat
Due to the insane traffic situation in the most congested city I’ve ever visited, I arrived at Ynares Arena right at about half time (the journey started from 5am in Malaysia, but that’s another post in another time).
KL Dragons was trailing by 1 point against the favorites at home, the score was 38-37 to start the second half. Although the stadium wasn’t exactly filled (most likely due to the traffic), I could sense the excitement and energy both in the crowd and the players.
the game was broadcast on ESPN with live commentary on radio too
The familiar feeling of adrenaline rush immediately over powered my fatigue from being on the road in the past 12 hours.
Third quarter was a back and forth affair, with each team answering each other basically basket to basket. The Patriots had home field advantage, the crowd was with them, and loud speakers booming “DEFENSE DEFENSE” whenever the Dragons had possession. It was a tough, but we kept with it.
The quarter ended 55-54 favoring the Patriots.
KL Dragons – close relationship and good team work chemistry
In the early going on forth quarter, we managed to kept pace. It wasn’t until about 2 minutes left in the game that the Patriots somehow managed pull away due to a couple critical baskets and tough defensive stance (some might argue that it was slightly aided by the lack of calls). We lost the game at 76-70, but we did put up a very good fight.
Everyone was feeling a bit down after the game in the locker room. Coach Goh and Team Manager Mr. Wee gave their talks and what the team faces the rest of the season. The goal is to get to the playoffs, and we have a legitimate shot at it.
I joined the team for dinner and next day’s flight back to KL, and they were some of the funniest and down to earth bunch of guys you can find. I ended up talking to Jamal Brown for quite a bit since he is an American and we have a common topic in American sports.
I have my calendar circled for their next home game at MABA on the 5th Jan 2010, facing Satria Muda at home. Support our local team, be there! KL Dragons have 3 more home games, their full schedule can be found here.
See you on Jan 5 Jamal and gang!