24 - 29
September 2019
Fajardo, Lu Cheng-Ju, CLS Knights set records in Asian league action
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Fajardo, Lu Cheng-Ju, CLS Knights set records in Asian league action

BEIRUT (FIBA Asia Champions Cup) - It’s only the second week of the year and action around leagues all over Asia are already shifting into top gear! The majority of top teams have been able to hold their ground at the top of the standings, but the gap is closing in quickly.

Check out all of the action around Asia this past week!

Information is updated as of January 14, 2019.

History is made by Fajardo, Lu Cheng-Ju, CLS Knights

Records are made to be broken and some were shattered over this past week.

The PBA announced Junmar Fajardo as the Most Valuable Player from the past 43rd season of the Philippines Basketball Association (PBA), making it the 5th straight time he has claimed the award. The 29-year-old now has the most MVP awards ever in PBA history, ahead of Alvin Patrimonio and Ramon Fernandez. Fajardo averaged 20.6 points and 12.4 rebounds per game for the San Miguel Beermen who were champions of the Philippine Cup last season.


In the Chinese-Taipei Super Basketball League (SBL), reigning MVP Lu Cheng-Ju scored 28 points on 7 three-pointers in a win for Yulon Luxgen Dinos. Both were season-high records for the 32-year-old and it was also 4,899th point in the SBL for Lu. This places him as the league's All-Time leading scorer, overtaking Tien Lei who had 4,883. It took Lu 274 games to reach this milestone.


Over in the Indonesia, the BTN CLS Knights had themselves a Golden State Warriors kind of night on their homecourt of Gor Kertajaya in Surabaya. As a team, they knocked down 22 three-pointers to set an ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) single-game record. More impressively, they did so with 4 players knocking down 5 triples each.

The previous record of 19 threes was set this season by the Formosa Dreamers and the Macau Black Bears.


The PBA is back!

After the 43rd season concluded on December 18th least year, the 44th season of the PBA is already back in action after playing the first game of the Philippine Cup between Banagay Ginebra San Miguel and TNT Katropa on January 13.

Powered by national team stud Japeth Aguilar and his 21 points, Barangay Ginebra took the first win of the season 90-79.

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The league also handed out the seasonal awards prior to the season opener with Fajardo winning his 5th straight MVP title. He slightly edged out Stanley Pringle (NorthPort) and both were named the to Mythical Team along with Paul Lee (Magnolia Hotshots), Marcio Lassiter (San Miguel), and Aguilar.

The 2nd Mythical Team included Scottie Thomson (Banangay Ginebra), Poy Erram (NLEX Road Warriors), Mark Barroca (Magnolia Hotshots), Gabe Norwood (Rain or Shine Elasto Painters), and Matthew Wright (Phoenix Fuelmasters).

Fajardo and Norwood also made the All-Defensive team which also included Rafi Reavis (Magnolia Hotshots), Rome Dela Rosa (Magnolia Hotshots), and Chris Ross (San Miguel).

Jason Perkins (Phoenix Fuelmasters) was named the Rookie of the year while 2nd Mythical Team awardee Scottie Thompson was also named the Most Improved Player.

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Ulsan, Alab brought back to earth

Ulsan Mobis Phoebus of the Korean Basketball League (KBL) and San Miguel Alab Pilipinas (ABL) were pegged as preseason favorites to win their league in dominating fashion with their strong rosters.

The past week did not go too well for both teams.

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Alab Pilipinas were dealt their first loss of the season against the Westports Malaysia Dragons on January 9th in a heartbreaking one-point loss and closed out the week on January 13th with a devastating defeat on a last-second shot to the Formosa Dreamers. They were able to collect a big win in between both games and still sit atop of the standings with a 6-2 record, but taking in two closes losses is never easy.


Ulsan started their week with a win, but were since handed two straight losses to two struggling teams in the Changwon LG Sakers and the Seoul Samsung Thunders, who are 7th and last in the KBL table, respectively. Their 26-8 record means that Ulsan are still at the top of the standings, but their 2-game losing streak means that they are not as invincible as seemed earlier in the season.

Stars shine brightly at the CBA All-Star Weekend

Qingdao hosted the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) All-Star Weekend from January 12-13, taking a break from the competitive intense action of the regular season.

Jilin Northeast Tigers rookie and U18 national team player, Jiang Wieze, won the Skills Challenge by beating out Zhejiang’s Cheng Shuai Peng finishing the course in 26.5 seconds. Jiang not only won the challenge, he broke the previous course record of 26.7 seconds set by Wang Zhirui in 2014.

All-Star Chen Linjian of the Fujian Sturgeons was crowned the three-point king after winning the Debon Express Three-point Shooting Contest. Chen’s victory didn’t come easy as he tied Guangdong’s Du Runwang with 21 points in the Final round, knocking out defending champion, Yu Changchun. Chen had to beat Du in a 30-second tiebreaking round which he also barely won 11-9.

The dunk contest was left with only two finalists when favorite Wang Tong suffered an injury prior to the competition. Zhang Jianhao was then able to defend his throne as the CBA dunk champion, closing in on Hu Guang’s three-peat from 2004-2006.


In the main event of the weekend, the Southern Stars beat the Northern Stars, 160-145. Despite the Southern Star’s victory, they still trail 4-6 against the Northern Star’s since the format was adopted in the 2008-2009 season.

The Northern Stars had a grand effort from Guo Ailun (Liaoning Flying Leopards) who put up 26 points, 5 rebounds, 15 assists, and 5 steals but it wasn’t enough to counter Joseph Young’s (Nanjing Monkey King) 40 points and 6 boards. Young was later named the MVP of the All-Star Game.


Young guns on fire

Some promising prospects were featured last week and the young stars of Asian basketball are still going strong.

Ali Mansour of Hoops Men Club (Alfa Lebanese Basketball League) doubled-down on his stat-stuffing line and put in his first career triple-double in a win over Sagesse. The 21-year-old had been flirting with a triple-double for a while and finally recorded 18 points, 12 rebounds, and 13 assists in his lone game this week.

20-year-old Ihab Al-Zuhairi continues to be a force down low for undefeated Iraqi Basketball Super League leaders Al-Karkh. In their 12th straight win, the Iraq national team player recorded 23 points, 11 rebounds, and 2 blocks.

KBL’s leading All-Star vote-getter, Yang Hong-Seok, is on the radar for a national team call-up and rightfully so. The 21-year-old set a career high 27 points on January 9th and has helped lead the Busan KT Supersonic to two consecutive wins.

This past week he has averaged 21.7 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 2.3 assists in three games.


On to the next round in Bahrain

The Bahrain Premier League moves on after a single-robin format in the preliminary round. After 11 games, Manama remain undefeated and they move to the Top 6 round with Muharraq (10-1), AL Riffa (9-2), Al Ahli (8-3), Al Najma (6-5), and Al Ettihad (5-6).

The final spot of the top 6 was between Al Ettihad and Al Haha who both had an identical 5-6 record, but Al Ettihad held the tiebreaker with a 66-60 win over Al Hala way back in October 8 to start the season.

The rich get richer

Tochigi Brex (25-6) are only slightly behind league leaders and division rivals Chiba Jets (26-5) but have come out of the league’s short break with a big acquisition that might get them over the top.


The team formally announced the return of 2017-2018 MVP Makoto Hiejima after his stint in Australia’s NBL with the Brisbane Bullets. The 28-year-old signed with Brex in the summer of 2018 after a 4-year career with Seahorses Mikawa. His MVP season saw him put up averages of 12.9 points, 2.9 rebounds, and 4.1 assists.

Hiejima’s return raises the intensity for the upcoming clash between Brex and Chiba Jets on January 16th.

Top of the Standings:

Alfa Lebanese Basketball League: Al Riyadi (8-1)
ASEAN Basketball League (ABL): San Miguel Alab Pilipinas (6-2)
B.league: Chiba Jets (26-5)
Bahraini Premier League: Manama (11-0)
Chinese Basketball Association (CBA): Guangdong Southern Tigers (27-3)
Iranian Super League: Petrochimi (8-0)
Iraqi Basketball Super League: Al Karkh (12-0)
Korean Basketball League (KBL): Ulsan Mobis Phoebus (26-8)
Super Basketball League (SBL): Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor (13-8)
Philippines Basketball Association: Barangay Ginebra San Miguel (1-0)