Tuesday, November 28, 2023

Asia Minute: Southeast Asia loses their pro basketball league for unforeseeable future

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A professional basketball league that’s had a mixed record when it comes to finances is coming to a close.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations, which typically has diplomatic meetings that draw world leaders and economic ties that link regional countries, had a professional basketball league up until this week.

It was announced on Monday that the ASEAN Basketball League is “unlikely to play in the foreseeable future,” according to the Singapore Slingers, who were part of the original ASEAN Basketball League back in 2009.

That group included other teams like the Brunei Barracudas and the Kuala Lumpur Dragons — along with teams from Jakarta, Bangkok and the Philippines.

The Saigon Heat joined the league a bit later, and so did teams from Taiwan and Hong Kong.

The San Miguel Beermen played briefly, won a championship, and then departed the league.

The COVID-19 pandemic slammed the brakes on the league, but teams started playing again in January.

According to a statement from the Singapore Slingers, the International Basketball Federation informed the league that it didn’t fit into its future plans for the region.

The team said that the decision “essentially denied the ABL a viable future.”

Many details are still uncertain, but there is still plenty of international basketball competition in the region — both amateur and professional.

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