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ABL stays optimistic

Jason Brickman
FIL-AM guard Jason Brickman of San Miguel Alab Pilipinas tries to score against the Singapore Slingers in a ASEAN Basketball League regular season game in Sta. Rosa, Laguna last February. The ABL remains optimistic that it would find a way to resume competitions next year. ABL photo

THE ASEAN Basketball League remains optimistic that it would find a way to resume competitions next year.

With the border closures, the ABL was shut down in mid-March due to the COVID-19 pandemic and eventually canceled the remainder of the 2019-20 season last July.

The 10th season was supposed to be a milestone for the ABL, as the league celebrates its first decade of existence.

Our management has been in constant communication with the ABL teams to explore the possibilities of restarting the games in 2021,” said ABL interim CEO Connor Nguyen.

At present, our most difficult challenge to date would be travel restrictions and quarantine requirements by each individual country. It is still too early to firm our plans with the uncertainty still going around, however, I hope to find a viable solution so that we can continue to operate and provide a competitive platform for our athletes while maintaining the entertainment quality for our fans,” he added.

The regional league has decided to restructure the operations and management with Nguyen, who is also the team president of the Vietnamese club Saigon Heat, now leading in navigating through the 2021 season.

The ABL is currently looking to change its format in 2021 to a circuit format, with teams competing in several week-long tournaments organized in various countries.

Teams will be awarded ranking points from their final position in each circuit and these points will be accumulated from all the circuits a team participates. The top teams would qualify for the Finals Tournament that ultimately would determine the ABL season champion.

The ABL assured the clubs that it will continue to provide updates regarding the start of the 11th season.

All clubs led by San Miguel Alab Pilipinas will still be around when the ABL resumes its operations with the exception of Thailand’s Mono Vampire, which announced its disbandment in late March.

Chinese-Taipei clubs Formosa Dreamers and Taipei Fubon Braves, who are now competing in the new Taiwanese cage league, remains committed with the ABL.