Perennial powerhouse Hong Kong Eastern has made their first move of their ASEAN Basketball League offseason by announcing the team’s latest recruits via social media.
Hong Kong’s latest A1 Division champion has added Trey Gilder to be one of their three allotted imports, along with strengthening their local talent with the additions of Lam Man Chun and Chan Yik Lun.
Listed as a 6-foot-9 forward, Gilder is a well-known international journeyman and enjoyed a stint in the NBA Development League, where he was named an All-Star and helped lead his former team, the Colorado 14ers, to a championship in the same season.
Following a stint with the Sydney Kings back in late 2010, this will be the first time that the 33-year-old American forward will be playing in Asia.
On the other hand, both Lam Man Chun and Chan Yik Lun were brought in to help bolster the depth of Eastern’s bench. The former last played for Wing Ling as a two-way wing off the bench, while the latter is also an experienced wing player who left his childhood dream club, the South China Athletic Association Men’s Basketball Team after nine years of service.
“I have been watching the ABL for the past few seasons and this is a very competitive league, especially last season,” cited Lam.
“Alab is the champion, so hopefully, I can get the chance to play against and learn from the teams around the league.”
As for Chan, he is appreciative of the trust and faith that his new club has on him, stating: “I would like to thank Eastern Long Lions Basketball Team for giving me this opportunity which is an endorsement of my capabilities. I feel grateful about this.”
Since Eastern is still, technically, the only professional basketball club within Hong Kong, the moment the club approached and signed both Lam and Chan, it made for a special moment, and though the two are now 30-years-old, the upcoming season will still be considered their rookie seasons as professional basketball players.
“Being a professional player is a new challenge for me and I am ready for it. Before joining the Eastern Long Lions, I also had experience playing in overseas competitions against SBL (Taiwan) and CBA (China) teams who have good international players. I think these experiences can help me play in the ABL,” shared Chan.
Chan, who has spent much of his off-season time developing his overall skillset during his entire career, has trained under current Saigon Heat head coach Kyle Julius just a few years back, and is excited to meet him once again, but this time, as an opponent.
“I do look forward to playing against the Saigon Heat because Kyle Julius helped me conduct personal training before,” added the 30-year-old.
For Eastern’s younger players, it is expected that they would be learning and absorbing as much as they can from the two new veteran signees both on and off the court, but perhaps more importantly, the two should fit right in with Lee Ki and the team’s import players and lead by example.
“Although I have been the sixth man for most of my career, I always bring 100% of my energy whenever I step onto the court,” Lam firmly stated. “Usually, my task is to lock down opposing wings, but I can do just about a little of everything.”
For national team member Chan also shares the same passion: “I have been played in the A1 Division League for 13 years, so I hope that I can provide a new type of impact for the team, especially in helping our young players grow by sharing my experience and skills.”
With the addition of three new players, former Head Coach of the Year, Edu Torres, is sure to have an overall master plan in mind, bringing out the best from his players by putting the right guys in the right positions according to matchups.
“We [the team] will have more flexibility and variation in our tactics when we play against different teams,” stressed Chan on the additions of himself, Lam and Gilder.
Above all else, the veterans are mentally and physically ready to on the challenges which await them, regardless of what the obstacles may be.
“I’m willing to take on and play any role that our coaches ask of me, no question,” emphasized Lam.
Lam and Chan are also former high school teammates of current team captain, Lee Ki, so the history and friendship shared between the three should certainly translate to some interesting chemistry on the floor.
In fact, Chan can still recall the battles the three went through almost 15 years ago, and is just thankful now that they can share the same court together again, donning the same jersey.
“We have been playing basketball together since high school, then we were representatives of Hong Kong’s team. So we are definitely good partners and brothers. It’s amazing that the Eastern Long Lions has brought us together again.”
“Hopefully, we, the alumni, can make our high school (Ju Ching Chu Secondary School) proud again,” closed Chan.