After a two season hiatus from the ASEAN Basketball League, Indonesia is ready to return with CLS Knights Surabaya leading the charge.
The last time Indonesia fielded a team in the ABL was back in 2014 with two teams: the Indonesia Warriors and Laskar Dreya South Sumatra. Both sides failed to make the playoffs and the ABL hasn’t had a club from Indonesia since.
Now Indonesia is back, represented by the proud CLS Knights Surabaya.
First founded in 1946, CLS is a foundation that has mainly focused on developing basketball in Surabaya, Indonesia. The organization has endured many adversities throughout the numerous years of its existence, but has fought through each one to be the prestigious club that they are today.
“In the past decade, we have been putting our efforts as an organization to strive for excellence in professional basketball competition,” says General Manager Christopher Tanuwidjaja.
“The ‘Knights’ moniker has been attached to the team as a symbol of true dedication and to bring out the Spirit of Surabaya, which is also well known as the ‘City of Heroes’.”
The Knights are one of the most recognized basketball teams in Indonesia, not only because of their lengthy history but also because they are one of the most competitive. They’ve always managed to be a contender in each and every season, recently winning an Indonesia Basketball League title in 2015-2016.
“Our hard work, dedication, and passion is noticed by the basketball fans of Indonesia, as we’ve become the most popular basketball team nationwide.” Tanuwidjaja adds.
In their never-ending quest to develop basketball in Indonesia, the CLS Knights Surabaya have now decided to take the next step by joining the ASEAN Basketball League.
“As we have numerous young local players, we are eager to learn more about basketball,” Tanuwidjaja says. “ABL is the perfect setup for us to gain more experience.”
“This will be a challenging stage for us, as we’ll be experiencing many new things. However we’re excited and up for the challenge.”
Not only in terms of player development, Tanuwidjaja see the ABL as a platform to further strengthen and build up their fanbase.
“It’s a simple yet very organized league that allows teams to be able to explore ways to build fanaticism.”
“This will be a great experience for us as a team and we’re very excited to educate ourselves further through this new journey with ABL.”
Indonesia was always a big part of the ASEAN Basketball League. The Indonesia Warriors (also under the name Satria Muda Britama) made three trips to the ABL Finals in their 5 years of participation, winning it all in 2012. The proud nation has long been a basketball powerhouse in the ASEAN region, but their participation in the ABL played a huge part in maintaining the position among the region’s top squads.
Now that the nation has returned to having a team in the league, Tanuwidjaja believes they can further build on that success.
“The Indonesia National team will definitely benefit from [CLS Knights playing in ABL] as well,” He says. “We’ve seen how basketball in our surrounding countries have developed so far since the ABL first started.”
With an already impressive cast of returning teams, adding the CLS Knights Surabaya to the playing field should only build up more anticipation heading into an exciting ASEAN Basketball League season.
The CLS Knights Surabaya will be playing their home games at GOR Kertajaya Surabaya.
The ABL is set to tipoff on November 17.