Competitive season expected as 9 teams see action in ABL
A league record nine teams will see action in the new Asean Basketball League season which unfolds next month.
Defending champion Hong Kong is expected to have its hands full with the entry of the Formosa Dreamers of Taiwan, CLS Knights Surabaya of Indonesia, Nanhai Long-Lions of China and returning Mono Vampire of Thailand.
The addition of the teams, which was officially announced on Tuesday in a press conference Tuesday at Shangri-La Hotel at Bonifacio Global City, expands the league’s reach in Asia.
“We’ll be able to bring more exciting games for the fans. You’ll be able to see other stars in the region,” Ilagan told INQUIRER.net. “You’re not just confined in the Philippines then you get to appreciate other countries’ basketball culture as well.”
Ilagan believes it will be a “very competitive” season.
“I think most if not all of our games will be down the wire this year. All the teams we have this year are very competitive. The addition of CLS Knights from Indonesia, Mono Vampire from Thailand, they are very established teams,” he said. “Plus, you add that team from China and the group from Taiwan who equally love basketball as we do.”
The ninth season opens on Nov. 17. Alab Pilipinas begins its campaign on Nov. 19 against the Eastern Long Lions at Mall of Asia Arena.
The Philippines, bannered by reigning local MVP Bobby Ray Parks Jr. and import Ivan Johnson, will be tested right away against Hong Kong, which will be led by Fil-German Christian Standhardinger and Thai-American Tyler Lamb.
“It will absolutely be a tough game. They have a loaded team over there with Christian but we’ll do our part and be ready for our opening game,” said new Alab head coach Jimmy Alapag.
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