It took just two weeks in December to see the mad rush before the league resumes from a short Christmas holiday break.

Almost all of the nine teams in the franchise to make their move to optimise each of their teams before the start of a new year in 2018.

As Westports Malaysia Dragons resume their journey after a month-long break in December, they are ready to take on Alab Pilipinas in their first face-off in Manila.

Two players from the Dragons, Reil Cervantes and Curtis Washington were replaced by Joshua Munzon and AJ West last week in an announcement, a shakeup of the roster line up after two losing streak matches against Mono Vampire and Chongson Kungfu.

Dragons pulled off a spectacular start despite facing a bumpy start and definitely looking to begin a new year with a stronger team to qualify for the playoffs this season.

It is never easy to make a change, these are guys’ lives and I enjoyed having both Reil and Curtis, it’s hard to let them go. You know, we got to think about other 11 players too.

Westports Malaysia Dragons vs Saigon Heat

Joshua Munzon returns for a second year with the Westports Malaysia Dragons

Adding Josh to the team, it’s great to bring a guy like that back, it’s great to have a guy like AJ who is going to bring a physical and tough approach to what we are trying to do defensively,” Dragons’ head coach Christopher Thomas said.

Thomas also mentioned that the roster changes will allow the team to be very competitive against the other teams towards the last 17 games. He said that Munzon is an overall ‘game’ on both sides of the floor and he complements on what he likes to do with the team.

He plays fast, he can really shoot the basketball and a very good defender. Josh kind of challenged me last year and I’m the very structured defensive guy while Josh really does things off his instincts.

“I’m never going to take that away from someone,” he added.

When asked about AJ West, Thomas said that West’ addition in the team will be a great boost for the Dragons.

AJ is going to be great and he is very tough-minded, aggressive, physical and he can really run the floor. He is going to be able to go up against the big boys like Justin Howard and the new players from the Philippines.”

Alab Pilipinas recently signed up two new American imports, Justin Brownlee and Renaldo Balkman to replace Reggie Okosa and Ivan Johnson. Brownlee and Balkman played previously in the PBA league.

Great move, what they did were great and I think what we did was pretty great too. It will be a fun game to watch and we will put up a really nice show for the Filipino crowd and it is going to be two teams who wanted to play fast and tempo.

“Like I said, you guys know that we are not going to change who we are for anybody. We are going to make the other teams adjust to us as opposed to the other way round. We are going to bring a speed game on the floor and we are going to see who passes out first.”

Westports Malaysia Dragons will be playing against Tanduay Alab Pilipinas on January 3 (Wednesday) at 8PM, FilOil Flying V Centre in Manila, Philippines.
BYLINE Norman Goh