24 - 29
September 2019
FIBA Asia CC Round Up: How does each league look like at the end of 2018?
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How does each league look heading into 2019?

BEIRUT (FIBA Asia Champions Cup) -  Greetings to all FIBA Asia Champions Cup fans! It’s finally 2019!

With a new year comes exciting basketball throughout all over Asia. We can’t wait for all of the action to unfold, but let’s start off by recapping how each league was looking at the end of 2018.

Chinese Basketball Association (CBA)

League Leaders: Guangdong Southern Tigers (24-2)


The top two spots of the standings in the CBA are still held on tightly by the Guangdong Southern Tigers and the defending champions Liaoning Flying Leopards (22-4). Though Guangdong are perched at the top, Liaoning are doing as much as possible on their end to overtake their rivals. Liaoning's latest win over the Shanghai Sharks 126-120 currently puts them on a 15-game winning streak heading into 2019. Star guard Guo Ailun recently put himself in the CBA’s all-time top 10 of assists leader board, now with 1,422. He should have no trouble rising even further up the list in 2019.

Guangdong themselves are also on a winning streak of 4 games with their most recent loss coming against Liaoning on December 21. Southern Tiger ace Yi Jianlian might still have his team placed at No.1 and  topped the CBA All-Star voting with 519,288 votes, but his focus is getting Guangdong back to the Finals this season.

Yi will be leading the Southern All-Stars whose starters also include Wang Zhelin (Fujian Sturgeons), Hu Jinqiu (Zhejiang Guangsha Lions), Zhao Rui (Guangdong Southern Tigers), and Wu Qian (Zhejiang Golden Bulls). In the north will be Guo, Han Dejun (Liaoning Flying Leopards), Zhai Xiaochuan (Beijing Ducks), Abudushalamu Abudurexiti (Xinjiang Flying Tigers), and Fang Shou (Beijing Ducks).

Korean Basketball League (KBL)

League Leaders: Ulsan Hyundai Mobis Phoebus (23-6)

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It’s been a spectacular season for Mobis Phoebus, one that has some claiming them to be the “best KBL team ever”. The end of the year has been less impressive with two straight losses but they still command a dominating lead over Busan KT Sonicboom and Incheon ET Elephants (both at 17-11).

With a gap that big and with Ulsan still leading the league in FG% and 3P%, there’s still no reason to panic. One point of concern might be the absence of former G-Leaguer Lee Dae-Sung who has missed the past 3 games and is averaging 12.7 PPG, 2.7 RPG, 3.2 APG.

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The hottest team in the KBL is Wonju DB Promy who are enjoying a 5-game win streak to put them at 14-14. Wonju started the season among the bottom dwellers, before a roster change turned things around. A slow start forced Wonju to swap out Justin Tillman for Leon Williams and they’ve been 10-5 ever since. This is already the third team in the KBL for Williams this season and it looks like he has finally found a home with DB Promy.

On the other end of the table are the defending champions and FIBA Asia Champions Cup 2018 2nd runner up, Seoul SK Knights. Unable to find a comfortable player rotation, the Knights are now stuck at 9th in the standings with a 9-19 record while suffering a 9-game losing streak. Once the league’s best offensive team last season, the Knights are now dead last in points per game and field goal percentage as well.

Japanese B.League

Central Division Leaders: Niigata Albirex (19-10)
Eastern Division Leaders: Tochigiu Brex (24-5), Chiba Jets (24-5)
Western Division Leaders: Ryukyu Golden Kings (21-8)


Defending champions and FIBA Asia Champions Cup 2018 finalists, Alvark Tokyo, are doing fine with a 19-10 record. They just happen to be grouped with the 2016-2017 champions Tochigi Brex and the Chiba Jets, who are both ahead of Alvark in the standings.

Alvark has rebounded well from a 4-5 record in November to a 7-3 record in December, meaning they are definitely in better shape. A slight concern for Alvark is the shooting touch of FIBA Asia Champions Cup 2018 MVP, Daiki Tanaka, who has seen a drop off from 36.0% to 24.4% since last year.

The previous season's runner up, Chiba Jets, seem to be on a mission and are currently on a blistering 6-game winning streak. MVP candidate Yuki Togashi is averaging 14.0 points and 5.2 assists this season and has also helped push the Jets to an 8-game winning streak and a 10-game win streak earlier this season.

Not to be overshadowed by their two division rivals, Tochigi Brex have been 15-4 since the start of November. Leading the way for them is mainstay Ryan Rossiter who has raised his level of production from 13.4 to 23.1 points per game this season.

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Outside of the teams at the top of their divisions, Osaka Evessa (13-16) are in top notch form with 4 consecutive victories. Sharpshooter Naoya Kumagae has been lighting up the defense with 16.8 points on 50% shooting (and 56.7% from downtown) over the past 4 games.

Chinese-Taipei Super Basketball League (SBL)

League Leaders: Taiwan Beer (10-5), Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor (10-5)

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Following an earlier loss to Pauian Archiland, Taiwan Beer racked up two big wins in the last week of the year to tie things up at the top with Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor. Taiwan Beer haven’t relied too much on big name players, but rather a balanced effort from top to bottom. Over the course of their back-to-back wins, all five starters put in at least 8 points apiece en route to their victories.

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Charging their way up the table in the SBL are the Yulon Luxgen Dinos, currently are on a 5-game winning streak to get their record up to 10-6. Weekly MVP Sani Sakakini has powered the Dinos with identical 29-point, 13-rebound performances in the final week and is solidifying his status as a bonifide contender for league MVP. Throughout this 5-game run, Sakakini has been averaging 31.2 points and 12.8 rebounds while shooting 60.7% from the field.

Philippines Basketball Association (PBA)

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The PBA has been on a break since the end of the Governor’s Cup on December 19. The Magnolia Hotshots took down the Alaska Aces 4-2 in the Finals to secure their first championship ever since the 2014 Governor’s Cup, back when they were still called the San Mig Super Coffee Mixers.

Former national team guard Mark Barroca was named the Finals MVP while teammate Paul Lee was named the Best Player of the Conference.

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Your 2018 PBA Governors' Cup Finals MVP is @mark14barroca! #PBAFinals #PBAonESPN5 #PBALaroMoTo

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The completion of the Governor’s Cup ends the 2017-2018 season which also saw the San Miguel Beermen win the Philippine Cup and Barangay Ginebra San Miguel win the Commissioner’s Cup.

The next season of the PBA will commence on January 13, 2019 and will be the league’s 44th season. 

ASEAN Basketball League (ABL)

League Leaders: San Miguel Alab Pilipinas (4-0)


The final week of ABL action in 2018 was an eventful one to say the least.

Previously winless over the first 8 games, league rookies Wolf Warriors (1-8) were able to secure their first victory of the season 96-86 over their visitors from Indonesia, CLS Knights (2-6). Leading the pack for the Wolf Warriors was Chen Cai who put up 25 points, 6 rebounds, and a season-high 9 assists in a monumental win for the team.

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The Singapore Slingers (5-3) wrapped up 2018 on a sour note, dropping two straight games in the final week after racking up 5 straight wins. The first loss on December 21 was agonizing in particular to Hong Kong Eastern in double-overtime, 89-92. Both Delvin Goh and Lim Jun Yuan had chances to win the game from the line in regulation and the first overtime session but couldn’t seal the deal.

The second straight loss for the Slingers came two days later at the hands of the defending champions, San Miguel Alab Pilipinas, who are also currently the hottest team in town. The Slingers were tired from their previous game but fought back impressively. However, it wasn’t enough to beat Alab Pilipinas who have started their season with a 4 consecutive wins. Back-to-back defending MVP (Local Player) Bobby Ray Parks Jr. had his best game yet of the season with 18 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 steals. 

Iranian Super League

League Leaders: Petrochimi (7-0)

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The FIBA Asia Champions Cup 2018 champions Petrochimi continue their dominant run right up until the very end of year. Seven games have gone by for the defending champions without a single defeat and it doesn't look like there will be much that can slow down Petrochimi at this point.

Chemidor Tehran (6-1) has given Petrochimi their biggest test of the season, absorbing a heartbreaking loss to the champs on December 13. They have done well to bounce back with two straight wins to close out the year. Both wins handed out the first losses of the season to Palayesh Naft Abadan and Shahrdari Gordan.

Alfa Lebanese Basketball League (FLB League)

League Leaders: Homentemen (6-1), Al Riyadi (6-1)

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Derby Beirut ended with a difficult win for Al Riyadi 💙💛

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The final weekend of 2018 did not disappoint in the FLB League.

Hoops Men Club (2-5) and Atlas (2-5) engaged in a back and forth affair on December 27 which went down to the very final shot. Hoops Men’s Willie Warren put the team up 66-60 with only 30 seconds left in the game, but Atlas rallied back with 5 quick points. Atlas’ Ali Farhat missed the final shot, leaving his team with a 65-66 loss.

On December 28, Moutahed (3-4) watched in horror as their 84-73 lead over Byblos (3-4) with 4 minutes left in the game vanished after Byblos’ Aaron Nelson knocked down a three just under the one-minute mark. The come-from-behind win was completed with 7 seconds to go with a Mark Khoury putback to seal the 86-84 win.

Though currently on different sides of the standings, the “Derby of Beirut” on December 29 between Sagesse Club (1-6) and Al Riyadi (6-1) was always going to be a heated battle. Sagesse Club fought back from down by as much as 11 points at halftime to within at least 2 points late in the 4th quarter, but Riyadi held their ground and came away with another victory. This was also the third game back from injury for Wael Arakji who put up 8 points, 4 rebounds, and 2 assists.

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The famous Lebanese Basketball Derby in pictures! #AlfaChampionship #Sagesse #Riyadi #Derby

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The final game of 2018 was a slaughtering effort by defending champions Homentemen (6-1) over Beirut (4-4). The league leaders led the game from start to finish and got the chance to rest their players and now anticipate a game against Riyadi in the first game of 2019. 

Bahraini Premier League

League Leaders: Muharraq (9-0)

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The league leaders did not have a game in the final week of play in 2018 and remain undefeated after 9 games.

5-time defending champions Manama (8-0) also maintained their clean sheet and picked up two big wins over Al Ettihad (5-4) and Al Riffa (8-2), setting up a January 1 match between the two undefeated teams.

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Both teams might want to keep an eye on Al Najma (5-4) who are quickly rising up the standings with a 4-game undefeated stretch. Spearheading the run for Al Najma is national team player Mohammed Buallay. The all-purpose star is only 0.2 assists per game away from averaging a triple-double over this 4 game run with 14.0 points, 11.3 rebounds, and 9.8 dimes per contest.

Iraqi Basketball Super League

League Leaders: Al Karkh (10-0)


Currently at second place, Al Shorta (9-1) continues to stay in pace with league leading Al Karkh (10-0) with an 83-66 win over Naft Janoob (4-6) for their last game of 2018. Thulfiqar Hamoodi put in an efficient 16 points on 6-7 shooting to make sure the FIBA Asia Champions Cup 2016 participants went into the New Year’s break on a high note. Last seasons’ runners-up are now on a 5-game winning streak, targeting to overtake Al Karkh who dealt them their only loss early in the season.