After losing Anthony Tucker and Ryan Watkins to Thai club Mono Vampire Basketball Club, the Macau Black Bears are left with sizable vacancies for the upcoming ASEAN Basketball League (ABL).
The former World Import MVP Tucker averaged 25.3 points and 9.9 assists for the Black Bears during the previous season, while Watkins led the league in rebounds after grabbing 14.8 boards per contest.
“Losing Anthony Tucker and Ryan Watkins is tough and we wish them well as they will always be remembered for what they brought to our club and fans,” admits Black Bears General Manager Lukas Peng.
Peng expressed the difficulty of replacing two exceptional players, who strengthened the core of the squad together with another versatile player who completed their import trio, Mikh McKinney.
“It will be impossible to replace someone like Anthony with his playmaking and shooting ability. And same thing with Ryan, his hustle and motor will be missed.”
With the limited time left to rebuild the import structure, it won’t be easy for any team to find the right pieces, but Peng is determined to bring in high-level replacement imports for his team.
“It is our job to assemble a roster to give the team the highest chance of winning each and every game,” he asserted. “We will not be looking to replace Anthony with a player just like him, but hopefully we can get better in other areas of the game, areas we were lacking last season. There are a lot of players in the world and we will find someone that will help us win and not disappoint our fans.”
When asked about the potential of McKinney returning, Peng did not hesitate and admitted the team is trying their best to bring back the explosive combo guard. “We don’t need or want to keep that a secret, we are trying all we can to bring back Mikh to be our leader both on and off the court.”
After Tucker suffered injury late of the previous ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) season, McKinney carried the scoring load for the Black Bears for the remainder of the season.
The Filipino-American guard averaged 27.5 points per game since then, including scoring over 40 points twice against San Miguel Alab Pilipinas, resulting to his fame shooting up to new heights.
“Mikh has been one of the best players in the league and is really beloved by the Macau community and our organization,” Peng stressed, asserting that bringing back McKinney would be their primary mission this summer.
It is still uncertain which imports the Black Bears will sign for the upcoming ABL season, however, fans could expect the team to bring in resilient and high-level talents to compete with the rest of the league, and hopefully, Mckinney’s return.
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