MABA wants to copy PBA D-League to expand Malaysian pool

Malaysian Basketball Association’s new president Datuk Lua Choon Hann said the Philippines’ domination in Southeast Asia and its return to the world basketball map has inspired him to come out with a no non-sense cage program for his own country.

Lua, who went back to Kuala Lumpur on Wednesday after a brief visit to support the Blustar Malaysia Dragons, admitted Filipinos are still head and shoulders above the Malaysians as far as basketball is concerned.

No wonder, he is already thinking of copying the PBA D-League concept to Malaysia, while expanding their own national pool.

“My priority is to build the right foundation first because only when you have the right system, then (good) results will slowly come in,” Lua said in a chat with FOX Sports.

“I’m trying to put things at the right track and I’m trying to expand (the Malaysian) national team to 2 teams like the first and the reserved teams,” he added.

“Then we’ll create something like a D-League in Malaysia to explore more players.”

The MABA president arrived in Manila on Monday to personally support the Malaysia Dragons, who are currently campaigning in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup under the banner Blustar.

Blustar, a powder detergent, is actually owned by Blackwater Elite big boss Dioceldo Sy.

Lua said he is grateful for Sy, a Filipino-Chinese businessman, whom he got to know through former KL Dragons and current Phoenix Fuel Masters coach Ariel Vanguardia.

“It’s (Malaysia’s participation in the PBA D-League) definitely good for the team,” he said.

“And you need to have a big heart like that of the Blackwater owner to do such thing,” as Lua points out to Sy’s friendly gesture to sponsor the Dragons’ participation in the PBA D-League.

The Dragons, composed of Malaysia’s national players, dropped their first 3 games in the D-League, bowing to Tanduay 94-71, followed by a 98-83 loss to unbeaten Cafe France on Tuesday, before showing encouraging signs on Thursday when they lost by only 3 to Foundations Cup champion Phoenix, 97-94.

Malaysia also placed just 4th in the 2016 South East Asian Basketball Association (SEABA) Cup last month. – By Richard Dy

Follow this writer on Twitter: @richava