ASEAN Basketball League
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.
After the 2012 ABL season, the AirAsia Philippine Patriots announced their withdrawal from the league, after team ownerMikee Romero had his PBA franchise application approved (the team in the PBA was later named the GlobalPort Batang Pier); the Bangkok Cobras also withdrew from the league. After the 2014 season, the San Miguel Beermen withdrew from the league. This left the Philippines with no teams in the ABL. The SportsRev Thailand Slammers were then rebranded as Hi-Tech Bangkok City, and an Indonesian team, Laksar Dreya South Sumatra, were accepted.
On July 26, 2015, it was announced that Filipino boxing icon Manny Pacquiao along with several businessmen, formed a team for the ABL. The team will be called PACMAN Mindanao Aguilas (now known as Powervit Pilipinas Aguilas) and they will debut in October 2015 (Season 6).
On July 29, 2015, Racal Motors has confirmed its participation in the ABL. According to team owner Jonito Racal, “ABL will enhance and broaden their market reach in the region”. But on September 4, 2015, it was announced that Racal Motors withdrew from the league due to problems with its sponsors.
Another team from Thailand, Mono Vampire has joined the league for Season 6
Now poised to return for a Season 6, the ABL is here to stay!
For more information about Westports Malaysia Dragons click here