How do the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL)’s top imports rank through five weeks?
With five weeks of the 2019-20 ABL season in the books, we have now been served up a small sample size of what we can come to expect from players as the season progresses.
Though it is still early in the season and is just mid-December, we thought it would be a good time to start identifying our top Import MVP candidates for the regular season thus far. But before we begin, it’s important to note some factors taken into consideration when compiling the list of candidates:
- Winning does matter in ranking these players.
- The Saigon Heat have yet to play a single game, while the Slingers have only played one.
- It is still very early in the season with only 16 games having been played. In short, a lot could still happen during the course of the regular season.
Now with that out of the way, here are our Top 5 Import MVP Candidates:
5. Khalif wyatt
SAN MIGUEL ALAB PILIPINAS
2019-20 Per-Game Stats: 3 games played, 19.3 points, 4.3 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 0.3 steals, 0.3 blocks, 54% field goals, 68% three-point field goals
After a disappointing 6-point performance in his ABL debut, Khalif Wyatt has stepped up for San Miguel Alab Pilipinas. In their last two outings, Wyatt led the Philippine-based team to victory with his clutch down the stretch on both occasions.
The 6’4” wingman is currently averaging 19.3 points per game while shooting a jaw-dropping 68 percent from beyond the arc. With his contributions, Alab may very well be winless after three games instead of sitting at a comfortable 2-1 record.
4. Kenny manigault
MACAU BLACK BEARS
2019-20 Per-Game Stats: 6 games played, 24.1 points, 8.1 rebounds, 5.0 assists, 2.0 steals, 0.8 blocks, 41% field goals, 31% three-point field goals
Entering the season, Kenny Manigault had to face questions from ABL fans about whether or not he could fill in the shoes left by former Import MVP Anthony Tuckeer. Manigualt has so far answered those questions with a resounding yes.
Presently, Manigault is the Macau Black Bears’ leading scorer at 24.2 points per game, while also averaging 8.2 rebounds and 5.0 assists per game.
The American import has also helped lead the Black Bears to a respectable 3-3 record and garnered Player of the Week honors earlier in the season. If Manigault can lead his squad to more wins, he should make larger strides toward the top of the MVP ladder.
3. O.J. MAYO
TAIPEI FUBON BRAVES
2019-20 Per-Game Stats: 6 games played, 21.3 points, 3.1 rebounds, 3.8 assists, 1.3 steals, 0.3 blocks, 54% field goals, 59% three-point field goals
The Taipei Fubon Braves are having a strong start to their debut season, winning four of their first six games. And because of this strong start, it should be rewarded.
With O.J. Mayo carrying a general consensus as being their best player, he shall have the honor of the third overall spot in the rankings. Mayo is averaging 29.8 minutes per game — much lower than most imports in the ABL. But despite the shorter minutes, he is still averaging 21.3 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 3.8 assists per game, while converting on 59 percent of his 3-point attempts.
There is still plenty of reason to believe that we have yet to see what the former third overall NBA Draft selection can really do in the league, and with Lin Chih-Chieh out for an estimated 6-8 weeks, the Braves may have to rely more heavily on their imports in upcoming games.
2. MIKE SINGLETARY
2019-20 Per-Game Stats: 3 games played, 23.0 points, 10.6 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 2.0 steals, 1.0 blocks, 48% field goals, 50% three-point field goals
The Mono Vampire currently sit atop the league’s standings with a perfect 3-0 record. In those three games, Mike Singletary was named Player of the Game all three times. The honors go to show just how consistently good Singletary has been so far this season. He has been the focal point, and undoubtedly, Mono’s best player thus far.
The 6’4” forward is currently filling up the stat sheet, averaging 23.0 points, 10.7 rebounds, 5.3 assists, 2.0 steals, and 1.0 blocks per game, and was named November’s Player of the Month.
If Singletary and Mono Vampire can keep up their strong play, “Magic Mike” may very well be holding both the MVP and Championship trophies at the end of the season.
1. WILL ARTINO
KUALA LUMPUR DRAGONS
2019-20 Per-Game Stats: 3 games played, 23.6 points, 17.6 rebounds, 3.0 assists, 1.3 steals, 1.0 blocks, 45% field goals, 33% three-point field goals
Last season, Will Artino proved to be one of the ABL’s most versatile big men, so it was no surprise when the Kuala Lumpur Dragons came calling for his services in an attempt to break their playoff slump in 2019-20. However, what is a surprise is that he tops the list of Import MVP candidates this early into the season.
Artino has unquestionably been the leader of the Dragons so far this ABL season, leading them to a 2-1 start. The former Formosa Dreamer is putting up 23.7 points and a whopping 17.7 rebounds (first in the league) per game.
Whether Artino can maintain his stellar performance for the Dragons for the remainder of the season is yet to be seen, but for now, he can enjoy his spot on top of the Import MVP leaderboard.
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