JAKARTA, Indonesia – The AirAsia ASEAN Basketball League starts its 2014 season on July 16th. The league’s 5th season promises to be one of the most competitive and evenly contested to date with six teams from the ASEAN region fighting to be crowned the 2014 AirAsia ABL Champions.
Participating in the 2014 AirAsia ABL season are the perennial championship contenders, the Indonesia Warriors, along with foundation teams, Westport Malaysia Dragons and JobStreet.com Singapore Slingers. The crowd favorites from Vietnam, the Saigon Heat, will also be back for their 3rd season in the league.
Two new exciting teams are joining the ABL ranks this season as well.
Thailand will be represented by a new established team, the HiTech Bangkok City. Known to many basketball aficionados in Thailand, Chonburi HiTech is considered as one of the most successful clubs in the Thailand Basketball League (TBL) having won numerous TBL championships. They are looking forward to bringing that success to the regional courts of the ABL. HiTech Bangkok City will play their home games in Bangkok and Chonburi.
For the first time in ABL history, Indonesia will be represented by two teams in the ABL as the newly formed Laskar Hang Tuah Dreya group round up this season’s six teams.
Laskar Hang Tuah Dreya is a collaboration between Indonesian National Basketball League (NBL) side Hang Tuah Sumsel IM and Division 1 side Dreya Indonesia. United in their goal to promote player development in Indonesia, Hang Tuah and Dreya Indonesia have a long history of discovering the most exciting talents for Indonesian basketball. The team will play their home games in Sumatra and Jakarta.
The start to the 2014 season was pushed back by the league to accommodate the 2013 South East Asian (SEA) Games that were held in Myanmar in December 2013. With such a late start to the 2013 SEA Games, and with the 2015 SEA Games already confirmed for June 2015 in Singapore, the ABL decided to move the start of the regular season to July.
“Welcoming in two new teams is a great way to start the 2014 season,” said Ridi Djajakusuma, Chief Operating Officer of the ASEAN Basketball League. “Although the league is disappointed not to have a representative from the Philippines this year, we feel the competition will be at its highest level ever. All the teams who are participating this season are committed and determined to help develop the league and local players in the region improve further.”
The 2014 AirAsia ABL season will still have a Filipino presence though with the league staying with their ASEAN Import rule. However, the ASEAN import limit will drop from three (3) down to two (2) to allow more opportunities for local players on each team. Teams rosters can be reinforced with Two (2) World Imports, Two (2) ASEAN Imports (Optional), and One (1) Heritage Import (Optional).
The league will release more information, including the complete schedule of games, in the coming weeks. More information will be available at http://www.ASEANBasketballLeague.com/.