Adding the last piece of the puzzle


THE Brunei Barracudas have finally completed their roster for the 2010/2011 Asean Basketball League (ABL) season with the addition of Filipino Bryan Faundo occupying the final Asean import slot.

Faundo, who played for Barako Coffee in the PBA (Philippine Basketball Association) last season, will be playing the small forward position. Standing at 6ft 6in, he'll provide more size to the team and be more of a presence at the defensive end as well.

The 26-year-old will be playing alongside the duo of American imports Chris Commons and Kenny Boyd at the frontcourt.

American Ozell Wells, who is the former national coach of Yemen, had been named as the head coach for the sophomore season while local Wong Yee Chai returns for the second straight year as the assistant coach.

The other Asean imports are Kevin White and Chester Tolomia who will bolster the team at the backcourt.

The local players that will be lacing up for the blue jersey include Esmond Tan, Presley Ho, Lim Aik Hock, Benjamin Lim, Xavier Fong, Hj Md Badri Hj Suhaili, Jamri Ramlee and Zainul Ashyraf Hj Hussin.

"The coach came highly recommended and he's been very enthusiastic so far. I believe that he's got good work ethics and he's already planned out for the team to undergo training at the beach to work on their stamina on alternate days," said Nadzaty Azma Azeez, the team owner of the Barracudas, in an interview with The Brunei Times, yesterday.

"Last year we had two scoring guards (Leo Avenido and Francis 'Kiko' Adriano) but White is more of a creator to get the big men going at the offensive end," she added.

"On the other hand, Commons will be the go-to-man and he'll be the one to rack up the points while Boyd is more of a prototypical centre.

"These two will be a good combination with their versatility," she continued.

Fans and supporters can rest assured that the team's preparations have been ongoing from early in the year and they will be looking for a competitive season once again.

"We have been thinking about this for a long time and careful planning had been done for the team since the end of last season for this pool of players," said the Barracudas team owner.

"We have been working hard behind the scene for the best players. All the other teams in the league are getting better and we're trying our best as well," said Nadzaty.

"We managed to get some size for our team once again and we're happy to secure the players that we got," she added.

Nadzaty had previously told The Brunei Times that their target for this season was to achieve something better and attract more fans after they went down to the wire against the KL Dragons but missed out on the playoffs with a 6-9 losing record in the inaugural season.

The Barracudas management also wanted to thank the Brunei Tourism Board, Department of Youth and Sports and the Brunei Basketball Association (BBA) for their continuous support for the team.

The other participating teams in the league are defending champions Philippine Patriots, Singapore Slingers, Satria Muda BritAma, KL Dragons and Thailand Cobras, who will be replacing the Tigers, a team marred by controversy after it was revealed that their players have not been paid since March.

The Cobras and the Dragons will kick off the 2010-11 season with a game on Oct 2 in Bangkok, with the playoff finals scheduled to begin in February 2011 and culminate in the finals at the end of February 2011.

The format will be similar to last season's, comprising of three home and away games, respectively, for the league stages with a best of three series for the playoffs including the finals.

The Patriots swept Satria Muda in the best-of-five finals to win the title last season.

The Barracudas are scheduled to open their campaign against the Patriots on Oct 3 at the Ynares Sports Arena.

Their second game will be against the Cobras at the Nimibutr National Stadium in Bangkok on Oct 9.

Fans in Brunei will get to see the Barracudas in action for the first time this season when they return home on Oct 16 to face the Patriots once again at the Brunei Indoor Stadium.

The Brunei Times

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