ABL marks seventh season with growth outside Asean

Norman Lee Benjamin Riego on Nov 14, 2016 04:29 PM
ABL marks seventh season with growth outside Asean
HISTORY. Old rivalries and new matchups alike are bound to make this the most competitive ABL season yet.

For the first time in its seven-year history, the Asean Basketball League is opening its doors to those outside the region.

Taiwan-based Kaohsiung Truth and Hong Kong’s East Long Lions are all set to do battle with fellow newcomer Alab Pilipinas and league stalwarts Saigon Heat, Singapore Slingers, and Westports Malaysia Dragons.

They become the first two teams outside Southeast Asia to compete in its first and only regional professional league. “The entry of these two teams is a clear sign that the message of the league is reverberating throughout the region,” COO Jericho Ilagan expressed in the preseason press conference on Monday at the Solaire Resort and Casino in Paranaque City.

He also added, “The entry of these teams from non-Asean countries is a great sign because it shows that the ABL is reaching more and more people.”

Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines are just four of the founding members of the ABL.

To help see that through, the ABL has also partnered with the biggest broadcasters in the six competing countries.

In the Philippines, Alab Pilipinas and many of the league’s other games will be aired live and exclusive on ABS-CBN S+A Channel 23. “With our tie-up with media giant ABS-CBN, the ABL’s reach will be wider than ever in this basketball-country nation,” Ilagan said.

All these are in line with the league’s thrust of developing basketball in Southeast Asia. As Ilagan put it, “The ABL presents an avenue where the best basketball players in the region could compete against each other and learn how the sport is played in different countries.”

He then continued, “It also provides healthy competition while at the same time promoting tourism opportunities for the countries.”

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