MANILA, Philippines — Only San Miguel Beer will banner the Philippine campaign when Season 4 of the Asean Basketball League (ABL) unfolds in January.
The AirAsia Philippine Patriots opted to take a leave after three seasons, leaving the Beermen to battle it out with defending champion Indonesia Warriors and four other regional teams for top honors this time.
“[We] narrowly missed out on winning the championship in our maiden year,” Noli Eala, SMC director of sports, said in a statement. “We’ve had a busy off-season to prepare for 2013, however, and will be back stronger and more determined than ever. We are especially looking forward to big things for the ABL this season.”
Led by topnotch guard Chris Banchero and new recruit Asi Taulava, the Beermen get a chance to avenge their finals loss against the Warriors right on opening day on Jan. 11 at Mahaka Square in Jakarta.
The Patriots, the inaugural champion in the home-and-away tournament, bowed to the Warriors in the semifinals despite finishing second in the eliminations.
For the past months, Patriots owner Mikee Romero has been focusing on the debut stint of his Global Port Batang Pier in the Philippine Basketball Association.
Rounding out the six-team field are Season 2 champion Chang Thailand Slammers, Westports Malaysia Dragons and Jobstreet.com Singapore Slingers.