The ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) is a professional sports association dedicated to the advancement of basketball throughout the region. By providing a platform for high-level competition, the ABL strives to develop the sport in terms of quality of play and as a premier form of entertainment. The ABL was founded by Tan Sri Tony Fernandes and Erick Thohir and is owned by ASEAN Sports Ventures (ASV). The league is sanctioned by the Southeast Asia Basketball Association (SEABA) and International Basketball Federation Asia (FIBA Asia), which are both part of the International Basketball Federation (FIBA).
"Our initial vision of creating a competitive league that will develop the sport across the region is now a reality. The level of competition in each game gets higher and more intense every year. We've seen our share of nail-biting, down to the buzzer moments and in three seasons we've had teams from three different countries become champions!"
- Tan Sri Tony Fernandes and Erick Thohir, ABL co-founders
The league was founded in 2009 as the first truly regional sports entertainment property. By demonstrating the ongoing integration of ASEAN through professional sports, the league aims to provide a platform for the development of local basketball talent by working in tandem with each country's local association.
Competition on the court is the highest in the region, as each team may supplement their roster with a selection of international imports and ASEAN players. These rules encourage parity and guarantee an exciting product for our fans.
"The league, in the simplest terms, is marketed as a lifestyle brand. The athletes showcase high level performance and demonstrate the near peak of health and fitness. As a lifestyle brand, the ABL brings a fresh dynamism to a largely youthful, urban crowd. In addition, the league's commitment to grassroots player development for the youth of ASEAN is critical to basketball's long-term future in the region."
- Anthony L. Macri, ABL CEO
In addition, member teams are committed to providing a unique, fan-driven event experience that is about more than just basketball. Through promotional efforts, fan activities, and a deep partnership with regional and local media, the ABL is high level sports entertainment for all ages.
The league's first season (2009/2010) featured six competitors - the Satria Muda BritAma (Indonesia), the Westports KL Dragons (Malaysia), the Singapore Slingers (Singapore), the Brunei Barracudas (Brunei), the Thailand Tigers (Thailand) and the AirAsia Philippine Patriots (Philippines). The Patriots confirmed the long-standing basketball tradition of their homeland by winning the inaugural championship.
Five teams returned to compete for the trophy in the league's second season (2010/2011) and the Thailand Tigers were replaced by the Chang Thailand Slammers. In a championship series featuring the upstart Slammers and the defending champion Patriots, Thailand would not be denied as they captured the trophy at the end of the season.
The league expanded going into the third season despite the departure of the Brunei Barracudas. The Saigon Heat (Vietnam), the Bangkok Cobras (Thailand) and the San Miguel Beermen (Philippines) joined the remaining five to push league membership to eight teams. In addition, the Satria Muda BritAma changed its name to the Indonesia Warriors. More teams resulted in an extended season and after six grueling months of competition the Indonesia Warriors became the third team to lift the ASEAN Basketball League Championship trophy in as many seasons, defeating the San Miguel Beermen.
Now poised to return for a fourth season, the ABL is here to stay!
If you have any queries regarding the ASEAN Basketball League please email them to us at info@ASEANBasketballLeague.com