Wright, Brickman set for PBA D-League debut with Blustar Detergent
Fil-Canadian forward Matthew Wright and Fil-Am guard Jason Brickman are set to make their PBA D-League debut as the reigning ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) champions Westports Malaysia Dragons take their act to the developmental league.
Backed by Ever Bilena, coach Ariel Vanguardia’s crew will be named Blustar Detergent Dragons and will join the field for the 2016 PBA D-League Foundation Cup, set to open in May.
The PBA approved the application on Monday, albeit with some reservations.
Though Vanguardia will still have the Malaysian core of the Dragons, he will not have the services of American imports Calvin Godfrey and ABL World Import MVP Reggie Johnson for the D-League stint.
That leaves the bulk of responsibility on Wright, who was last season’s ABL Heritage MVP, and Brickman as the crew prepare for their title retention bid next ABL season.
Still, Vanguardia is ecstatic with the opportunity for his players.
“I’m thankful to the PBA, especially to Commissioner Chito Narvasa for accepting us, and to Blackwater owners Dioceldo Sy and CEO Silliman Sy for partnering with the Dragons. This is a great step in development of Malaysian basketball because we don’t really have any competitive league after ABL,” he said. “The PBA D-League is very tough, and I’m sure the experience we will gain here will toughen us up in future tournaments.”
However, PBA D-League tournament director Eric Castro clarified that this will not count on the two Fil-foreigners’ residency for the PBA Draft.
“Wright and Brickman still have to undergo the regular course of the (D-League) Draft, play seven games each in the two conferences required for them, before they can be eligible for the PBA Draft,” he said.
Fil-foreign hopefuls under the age of 30 are required to go through the D-League Draft and play at least seven games in two conferences before they can apply for the PBA Draft.
Blackwater team owner Dioceldo Sy also hinted the possibility of an extended tie-up between his party and his Malaysian associates.
“This is the first tie up between the Ever Bilena Blackwater group, Westports, and MABA (Malaysian Basketball Association),” he said. “This is a test to see if the PBA is good for them because they’re looking to buy a franchise. But it’s still testing the waters muna.”
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