MANILA – The ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) held the ABL 2018-2019 Press Conference and season launch on October 16th, 2018 at the Dilpomatic Hall of Manila Marriot Hotel. All ten teams were well-represented for the event that marks the start of the 2018-2019 ABL season.
“It’s almost funny how drastically things can change in a decade,” said ABL’s COO, Jericho Ilagan, in the event’s opening speech. There have been plenty of changes in the ABL over the past 8 seasons whether it is the addition of new teams or reaching out of the region to East Asia. There will be even more changes heading into the 9th ABL season to raise the level of competition and entertainment.
“This year, we’re excited about many things,” Ilagan said. “The first of which is welcoming a new team in the Wolf Warriors. As we’ve said in the past, we’re not looking to expand quickly as the quality of the expansion partner is more important to us than the quantity so we feel this is going to be the start of a long-term partnership with our newest franchise.”
“We’re excited to be in Macau, where our team that used to play in Foshan has transferred.”
“We’re also excited about implementing a new rule that allowed many players to have their homecoming. With the relaxed restrictions on locals, more hometown heroes will now get to inspire kids from their respective countries and perform in front of their own fans.”
The Wolf Warriors of Zhuhai, China are the newest expansion team in the ABL this year, pushing the total number of teams this year to 10 — the most ever in ABL history.
Chong Son Kung Fu of last season has been rebranded to the Macau Black Bears and relocated to Macau, making this the newest country to be represented in the league.
The defending champions, San Miguel Alab Pilipinas, are back in their quest to become the first team ever to win back-to-back titles. The Mono Vampire Basketball Club, Hong Kong Eastern, the aforementioned Macau Black Bears, the Singapore Slingers, the Saigon Heat, the CLS Knights, the KL Dragons, the Formosa Dreamers, and the newcomer Wolf Warriors are in the bid to dethrone Alab.
The participating representatives of every teams from general managers to head coaches to players all expressed excitement towards the next season citing the high level of competition as the main reason.
“Believe me when I say that the ABL is just getting started,” Ilagan concluded. “With the help of everyone in the league and our friends from the media, basketball will only grow more in the region.”
The first game of the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) 2018-2019 season will be on November 16th between the Wolf Warriors and Hong Kong Eastern.
Check out here for the schedule of the entire 2018-2019 season.