Friday March 15, 2013
Clippers’ Hubbard replaces Monroe
By KNG ZHENG GUAN
PETALING JAYA: The Westports Malaysia Dragons will head into a tough weekend fixture at the Asean Basketball League (ABL) Hoops Fest which begins today at Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.
The Dragons will play two matches in three days, first against home team Saigon Heat today, before taking on league leaders Indonesia Warriors on Sunday.
But they will be without prolific forward Sammy Monroe. whose one-month contract with the Dragons has expired without being renewed. Monroe, who came in as a replacement for the injured Cedric Bozeman, played four matches, averaging 26.3 points, 7.5 rebounds and 4.0 assists for the team.
The Dragons though have moved fast to sign an able replacement in the form of Marcus Hubbard, formerly of NBA’s LA Clippers.
“Sammy played very well for the club but his contract was only for a month and to sign him for the rest of the season means we will be well over the ABL salary cap to give him the contract he deserves,” said Dragons’ general manager Yakub Hussaini.
“We know how hard this news will be for the fans but we feel that we are moving in the right direction with Marcus as our second American import.”
Dragons coach Ariel Vanguardia, however, believes that the team will still be good without Monroe: “Sammy is a great professional and hopefully I’ll have the chance to coach him again some day,” said Vanguardia.
“But Marcus will bring us toughness and experience. He is a capable scorer and re-bounder and played alongside the likes of Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan and Chris Paul of the Clippers.
“Fans will be really excited to see that we have brought in another NBA-calibre player to the team,” added Vanguardia.
Meanwhile the Dragons will have to be vary of the Heat, who boast a strong attacking line-up despite being fifth in the six-team league, when both teams meet today.
Heat forward Dior Lowhorn has asserted himself as the ABL top-scorer, with 27.29 points per game while David Palmer will be an equally dangerous attacking threat.
The Heat have also made changes to their roster, ditching their previous Asean duo of Phillip Morrison and Karl Dehesa for veteran Filipino guards Al Vergara and Christopher Sumalinog.