PETALING JAYA: The Asean Basketball league barely lasted for three months this year but it was full of good memories for American Will Artino. The 27-year-old was one of Malaysia Westport Dragons top performers before the league was suspended due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

Artino, who stands at 2.11m, scored an average 23.2 points per game, rebounded an average 13.2 per game and made 2.1 blocks per match.

A potent attacking force, and also a masterful defender near the rim, Artino was crucial to the Dragons’ standing in the league.

The side led by coach Jamie Pearlman were third in the standings with ten wins, seven defeats and were in the playoff contention before the break.

Besides his strong performance, he is also a much-loved character and did his part to hold the team together throughout the season.

Artino, who has returned to the United States together with teammates Cade Davis and Amir Bell, said many did not fancy the Dragons to breathe fire after their insipid performances last year, which saw them finishing second last in the league.

“But I think we surprised people and it was a lot of fun playing with the guys,” said Artino, who is in Nebraska now.

“Even though the year was short, there were a lot of great memories.

“I gave my best for the team in every game but maybe some performances were better than the others.

“Coach did a great job with us, and it was awesome to play for him. I’m very thankful for what he did for us this year.”

Now that he is back home, Artino has been putting in the hours at his private gym and does hill-climbing near his residence.

“I’m playing a lot of video games too and just relaxing,” he said.

Artino believes that the league cannot go on due to the uncertainty of the situation, and hopes they will be able to resume by the start of 2021.

“I don’t think this season can be saved. I hope that all the countries will continue to follow the orders so that by next fall we can all be back to playing and cheering on some basketball.”

Meanwhile, shooting guard Bell has decided to leave the Dragons and join Israeli club Hapoel Beer Sheva.

It was confirmed by the Dragons on the social media pages, and that leaves Artino and Davis as the foreign players in the team.

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