WESTPORTS Malaysia Dragons coach Ariel Vanguardia has declared that improving the mental toughness of the team will be the focus before the start of the new season of the Asean Basketball League (ABL) in January.
Vanguardia said he was pleased with the team's performance in the competition this season, but believes that being mentally stronger will be imperative if the team are to excel when it comes to the business-end of the competition. The Malaysian side have crashed at the semi-final stage in the past three seasons.
The Dragons suffered a disappointing 90-56 defeat to the San Miguel Beermen in their game-three semi-final series decider in Manila last Saturday. The team were visibly hampered when key player Brian Williams could only play sparingly in the third and fourth periods as he was suffering from food poisoning.
"Games like this (against Beermen) you have to dig deep and be mentally tougher if you are to come through," said Vanguardia.
"I feel this an area we can still improve on and will look to focus on with the players for next season as, otherwise, we already have a capable team.
"Still, it was a great season for us, and although we had a lot of injuries we stuck together and managed to give the more favoured teams a run for their money.
"We beat every team in this league and are the only team to have beaten San Miguel twice this season.
"We even had a good semi-final series but just got unfortunate in game one and in the decider where Brian had trouble with food poisoning."
The Dragons ended the regular season in fourth place with 11 wins and 10 losses.