The Westports Malaysia Dragons are one of the founding teams of the ASEAN Basketball League since it’s establishment in 2009. Known for their fiery uptempo offense, the Dragons have been among one of the strongest franchises in the ABL with one Championship in 2015-2016, two Finals appearances, and 6 post-season trips in total. The Dragons alumni is a long and remarkable list from Heritage Import MVPs like Matthew Wright to multiple Malaysia National Team players such as Loh Shee Fai, Kuek Tian Yuan, and Ivan Yeo. They will be returning to play at MABA Stadium aka “The Dragon’s Den” this season, one of the most storied arenas in the ABL. Headed by Christopher Thomas for a second consecutive year, the Dragons are looking to spread their wings and make history once again in this upcoming ABL season.
The Singapore Slingers have been a part of the ASEAN Basketball League since it’s inception in 2009, gradually growing together side by side. Having carefully taken their time and enduring growing pains, the Slingers have groomed many talented National Team players such as two time Local MVP Wong Wei Long as well as rising stars Leon Kwek and Delvin Goh. The Slingers are riding on a wave of success, making it to two straight ABL Finals and three straight playoff appearances led by 2015-2016 Coach of the Year Neo Beng Siang. By using their trademark lockdown defense, the Slingers are aiming to make the upcoming ABL season a historic one for their fans.
Since joining as an expansion team in 2012, the Saigon Heat have developed into a proud and competitive franchise in the ASEAN Basketball League. The team has one of the league’s most enthusiastic fans rallying behind them and it’s pushed them to three straight playoff appearances in the past three seasons. CIS Arena in Ho Chi Minh City turns into to one of loudest places in town on game nights as the fans cheer on their favorite players like Stefan Nguyen, Horace Nguyen, and Nguyen Van Hung. The Heat are banking on their fans to come back to root for them in their shot at making history this ABL season.
Hailing from one of the most basketball-crazed nations in the world, Alab Pilipinas didn’t disappoint last season in the ABL as an expansion team. Not only did they bring an aggressive upbeat tempo to the hardwood, they also brought along a massive group of passionate fans. Anchored by Local MVP star Bobby Ray Parks, Alab Pilipinas were able to make it all the way to the Semi-Finals after a 3rd place finish in the regular season. After spreading their name out nationwide by playing in various venues throughout the Philippines, Alab Pilipinas targets to build on to their success in a historic ABL season ahead.
The Hong Kong Eastern Sports Club already made history to start the previous season as one of the first two teams outside of South East Asia to join the ABL. They wrapped up the season going down in the history books again by winning the ABL title led by World Import MVP Marcus Elliott, Heritage Import MVP Tyler Lamb, as well as fan favorites Lee Ki and Fong Shing Yee. Directed by Spaniard Coach Edu Torres, the Eastern Sports Club were an offensive machine that broke the record books in three-point shooting both in quantity and efficiency. Eastern are back to defend the ABL crown this season with the ABL and will fill the seats of Southorn Stadium with fans who are ready to witness it.
Indonesia is one of the most respected basketball nations in the South East Asia region and they will be making a historic return to the ABL this season, represented by the CLS Knights Surabaya. The storied club has been around for just over 70 years and is one of the most competitive teams in the league, recently winning the IBL title in 2015-2016. The team is based in Surabaya, the “City of Heroes”, and the Knights are a symbol of true dedication of the spirit of the city. The Knights have been home to notable players like ABL Local MVP Mario Wuysang and Indonesia National Team player Sandy Kurniawan. In their first ABL season, the CLS Knights will aim to waive their purple and gold banners proudly as their return Indonesia basketball pride back to the ABL.
After a one-year hiatus, the Mono Vampires returning to the ASEAN Basketball League to represent Thailand. The rising basketball powerhouse of Thailand have a collection of the best players in the country like Kannut Samerjai, Ratdech Kruatiwa, and Chitchai Ananti as well as one of the finest basketball facilities in their homecourt, Stadium29. Despite being established in as recent as 2014, the club has built up quite a resume winning three consecutive TBL titles as well as a sixth place finish in the FIBA Asia Champions Cup 2017. They are surely not looking to stop only there and this return to the ABL is focused on etching their names in ABL history.
The ASEAN Basketball League made a historic expansion to Taiwan last season and the immense mutual interest between the league and the country led to the addition of the Formosa Dreamers. Founded by Cheng-Chung Chang, Chris Hsu, Jimmy Chang, Blackie Chen and Jonathan, the Dreamers are looking to form a club that can help Taiwanese basketball enthusiasts achieve their dreams. Through basketball, the Dreamers aim to promote Taiwan to the basketball world breaking through the barriers of language. The club is based in Changhua, Taiwan which is where they hope can become their “Field of Dreams” in this upcoming ABL season.
The Nanhai Long Lions are set to be yet another additional part of the ASEAN Basketball League next season. The expansion team will be the first ever team from China, based in the culturally-rich city of Nanhai. The Long Lions are a symbol of the team’s fighting spirit which will be built up of hopeful prospects from this basketball-loving country. Though the challenge is going to be tough, the team is positive about the future that lies ahead in their historic ABL debut.