Jakarta, Indonesia – The AirAsia ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) proudly announced that its’ much anticipated third season will tip off on the 14th of January 2012.
The ABL’s upcoming season looks to be even bigger and more exciting with three new teams being thrown into an already volatile mix – Philippine Basketball Association legends, the San Miguel Beermen, along with newcomers Bangkok Basketball Holdings from Thailand, and Saigon Sports Academy Basketball (SSA) from Vietnam.
“It’s a fantastic feeling to see our efforts in creating an ASEAN league that would help grow the development of the game now taking flight with more competitive teams signing up to battle for the honor of being the best in South East Asia.” said Mr. Tony Fernandes, Group CEO of AirAsia and the founder of the ASEAN Basketball League.
Mr. Kuhan Foo, the CEO of the ABL stated, “The inclusion of an established team like San Miguel from the Philippines and the new teams from Vietnam and Thailand show that the ABL is now turning into a regional gladiator ring for basketball with both giants of the game and new boys with large ambitions now signing up to fight for the right to be the best in ASEAN.”
Defending Champions Chang Thailand Slammers, season one Champions AirAsia Philippine Patriots, Westports KL Dragons from Malaysia, Singapore Slingers and the Indonesia Warriors (formerly known as the SatriaMuda Britama) from Indonesia will also return in the third season, although the Brunei Barracudas have recently announced that they will be taking a break for season 3.
“I am proud of ABL’S upcoming 3rd season. The league has proven the ability to expand a great deal with the addition of a SEABA member, Vietnam. From what was six teams, we are now a league of eight teams.” Mr. Erick Thohir, President of the Southest Asia Basketball Association (or SEABA), stated, “I hope ABL will become more competitive in the future and will be able to improve the national team’s performance in order to compete in FIBA Asia, facing the Middle East and East Asia countries such as Qatar, Syria, Taiwan, etc. Basketball in South East Asia has become quite popular, and it can be seen from the SEA Games basketball event that will have eight nations participating such as Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, Laos, Cambodia and Thailand. This has never happened before.”
The format of the last two seasons will be maintained, with triple home and away games for the league stages with a best of three series for the play offs including the finals and once again the champions of the ABL’s third season will again go on to represent the region in the 2012 FIBA Asia Champions Cup.
One major change for season three is that competition will begin in January 2012, to accommodate the ABL players who also represent their countries in the 26th SEA Games which will be held later on this year.
“It has been an exciting year and last season we did not even know who will get into the play-off up till the last game of regular season!” Mr. Mark Chang, team owner of the Singapore Slingers stated, “Every year we see more fans in Singapore following the games and it will be exciting to see how the next season will run with the introduction of all the new teams.”
Another change sees ABL’s third season run for six months, two months longer than the league’s first two seasons due to the inclusion of the three new teams. This means more games, more intense competition and more excitement.
Join us as the third season of the ASEAN Basketball League tips off on the 14th of January 2012.