In their first season of ABL competition, the Hong Kong Eastern Long Lions took the league by storm as they stomped their way through the regular season, continuing their dominance in the playoffs. The majority of the roster from that 2016-2017 championship team have returned for a shot at defending their title for the upcoming season, headlined by last season’s World Import MVP, Marcus Elliot.


ICYMI

The initial introduction of a new China-based team to the ranks of the 2017-2018 ABL season caused a minor discrepancy with the reigning champs: both teams adopted the moniker of “Long Lions.” To avoid confusion and redundancy within the league, the team formally known as “Hong Kong Eastern Long Lions” has since shortened their name to just “Hong Kong Eastern.” Ironically enough, that same China-based team heralding from Nanhai has also had a change of heart, opting for “Kung Fu” over “Long Lions.”


THREE POINTS

  On top of being the reigning champions from the 2016-2017 ABL season, 

Hong Kong Eastern also bolsters two of last season’s ABL MVP’s from their respective roster designations. Thai-American guard Tyler Lamb was named ASEAN-heritage MVP, while American import guard Marcus Elliot was given World Import MVP honors. Both will be returning to defend their crowns in ABL 8.

  To say that this team thrives beyond the arc would be an understatement

as Eastern possessed four of the top 10 players in three-pointers made from the 2016-2017 season. Of those four players, three placed in the top four. Marcus Elliot ranked in at first overall (68), Tyler Lamb came in at second (59) and Ki Lee finished in fourth (45). Heritage import Steven Guinchard, who has since left the team, rounded out the sharpshooting squad at seventh overall with 35 three-pointers made.

  The departure of import center Josh Boone hurts,

but the addition of Filipino-German Christian Standhardinger to fill in his shoes lessens the blow. With Boone, Eastern had a former 23rd overall NBA draft pick who carried four years of NBA experience playing for the then New Jersey Nets. However, Standhardinger has international experience as a member of the Philippines National Team, playing in back-to-back tournaments over the summer at the 2017 FIBA Asia Cup and 2017 SEA Games. He was also taken with the first overall pick during the 2017 PBA draft by San Miguel Beermen despite missing the draft combine.


KEY ADDITION(S)

PHOTO CREDIT: FIBA


CHRISTIAN STANDHARDINGER

(Center, ASEAN Import)


   2017 FIBA Asia Cup Stats

3 Games | 16.0 PPG | 5.7 RPG | 0.3 APG | 62% FG | 0.7 STPG | 1.7 TOPG

 

PHOTO CREDIT: HONG KONG EASTERN


JASONN HANNIBAL

(Center, World Import)


   2016 Iranian League Season Stats

5 Games | 6.6 PPG | 4.4 RPG | 0.6 APG | 39% FG | 0.4 BPG | 0.2 STPG | 1.0 TOPG


KEY DEPARTURE(S)

PHOTO CREDIT: ASEAN BASKETBALL LEAGUE


JOSH BOONE

(Center, World Import)


   2016-2017 ABL Season Stats

13 Games | 20.1 PPG | 12.8 RPG | 2.1 APG | 1.2 STPG | 2.2 BPG | 1.6 TOPG

 

PHOTO CREDIT: ASEAN BASKETBALL LEAGUE


STEVEN GUINCHARD

(Guard/Forward, ASEAN Import)


   2016-2017 ABL Season Stats

26 Games | 8.6 PPG | 5.3 RPG | 1.2 APG | 35 3PM | 39% 3P | 0.9 TOPG


X-FACTOR

PHOTO CREDIT: ASEAN BASKETBALL LEAGUE


MARCUS ELLIOT

(Guard, World Import)


   2016-2017 ABL Season Stats

26 Games | 24.3 PPG | 6.7 RPG | 6.6 APG | 68 3PM | 40% 3P | 1.2 STPG | 3.1 TOPG


LOCAL TO WATCH

PHOTO CREDIT: ASEAN BASKETBALL LEAGUE


KI LEE

(Guard/Forward)


   2016-2017 ABL Season Stats

26 Games | 7.4 PPG | 1.7 RPG | 1.4 APG | 45 3PM | 39% 3P% | 1.0 STPG | 0.9 TOPG


LATEST ROSTER

Head Coach: Edu Torres

Local: #29 Chun Sing Chung (193 cm, 78 kg)

Local: #0 Chung Kit Ip (187 cm, 85 kg)

Local: #88 Tsz Lai Lau (184 cm, 82 kg)

Local: #3 Ki Lee (177 cm, 84 kg)

Local: #11 Sheung Ying So (188 cm, 80 kg)

Local: #14 Chi Hang Tang (190 cm, 100 kg)

Local: #30 Cheuk Pan Wu (203 cm, 90 kg)

Local: #15 So Chi Lok (183 cm, 85 kg)

ASEAN Import: #10 Tyler Lamb (196 cm, 94 kg)

ASEAN Import: #34 Christian Karl Standhardinger (203 cm, 100 kg)

World Import: #2 Marcus Ryan Elliot (191 cm, 85 kg)

World Import: #10 Jasonn Hannibal (208 cm, 122 kg)


BOTTOM LINE

The defending champs are still the team to beat despite the expansion of ABL teams to a total of nine and their respective efforts of improving their rosters in hopes of thwarting Eastern. It will be a longshot for Hong Kong’s contenders to eclipse their success from the previous season where they went 16-4 throughout the regular season and 5-1 in the playoffs en-route to the championship, but with key contributors returning, it would be hard not to consider them the favorites for ABL 8.