Monday, September 26, 2011, â€“ TheAirAsia ASEAN Basketball League (the ABL) proudly announced today that its much anticipated third season will tip off on the 14th of January 2012. The ABLâ€™s upcoming season looks to be even bigger and more exciting with three new teams being thrown into an already volatile mix â€“ Philippine Basketball Association legends, The San Miguel Beermen along with newcomers Bangkok Basketball Holdings from Thailand and Saigon Sports Academy Basketball (SSA) from Vietnam.
Â â€śItâ€™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.â€ť 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, â€śThe 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.â€ť
Defending Champions Chang Thailand Slammers, season one Champions AirAsia Philippine Patriots, Westports KL Dragons from Malaysia, Singapore Slingers and the Indonesia Warriors (formerly 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.
â€śI 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.â€ť Mr. Erick Thohir, President of the Southest Asia Basketball Association (or SEABA), stated, â€śI 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.â€ť
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 ABLâ€™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 accommodateÂ Â the ABL playersÂ Â who also represent their countries in the 26th SEA Games which will be held later on this year.
Another change sees ABLâ€™s third season run for six months, two months longer than the leagueâ€™s first two seasons due to the inclusion of the three new teams. This means more games, more intense competition and more excitement.Â
Join us as the third season of the ASEAN Basketball League tips off on the 14th of January 2012.Â
About the ABLÂ
The ASEAN Basketball League is a professional basketball league founded Tan Sri Dato Tony Fernandes in view of what seems like a sports development scene in South East Asia that seemed to have stagnated. The idea of the league was to kick start a professional league that would be able to create strong teams that would be run as corporations and to ensure professional management, discipline and most importantly development of the game from grass roots level.Â