ASEAN Basketball League

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ASEAN Basketball League (ABL)
Most recent season or competition:
2016–17 ABL season
ASEAN Basketball League.png
Sport Basketball
Founded 2009
Owner(s) Tune Group
No. of teams 6
Countries  Hong Kong (1 team)
 Malaysia (1 team)
 Philippines (1 team)
 Singapore (1 team)
 Taiwan (1 team)
 Vietnam (1 team)
Continent FIBA Asia (Asia)
Most recent
Hong Kong Hong Kong Eastern Long Lions (1st title)
TV partner(s) Hong Kong Cable TV
Indonesia Skynindo
Philippines ABS-CBN
Singapore StarHub
Taiwan Sportcast
Vietnam HTV
Official website

The ASEAN Basketball League, often abbreviated to the ABL, is a men's professional basketball league in Southeast Asia, Hong Kong and Taiwan. Six clubs from six different countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) competed in the league's 2009 inaugural season.[1] The league was proposed in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and launched on 1 October 2009.[1]

Logo used for the first season with General Electric as the title sponsor.



Basketball officials from 6 ASEAN nations gathered in Metro Manila on 1 September 2009 to officially launch the new league.[citation needed]

Teams that participated in the inaugural season were the Brunei Barracudas, Kuala Lumpur Dragons, Philippine Patriots, SM BritAma, Thailand Tigers and former National Basketball League team, the Singapore Slingers. Mirroring the Euroleague in the west, the ABL has its own set of rules in terms of its roster makeup and salary caps. Teams are permitted two imports of non-ASEAN citizenship, three ASEAN imports, one player with one Southeast Asian parent, and seven local players. Teams are allowed to field a team of all local players if they wish to do so.[citation needed]

In July 2012, the league announced that Kuhan Foo, CEO since the ABL's inception, was moving on to a position leading additional regional sports properties. In his place, the league named Anthony Macri as the next CEO, and he will lead the ABL into Season 4 in early 2013, but after one season he left the league to rejoin his family in the US.[citation needed]

League expansion[edit]

On 22 September 2011, the Brunei Barracudas announced that they were bowing out of the third season of ABL after participating for 2 seasons.[citation needed]

On 20 October 2011, the Saigon Sports Academy officially announced the participation of Saigon Heat into the third season of ABL, making them the first ever international professional basketball team to represent Vietnam.[citation needed]

In 2012, San Miguel Beermen and Bangkok Cobras joined the league aside from Saigon Heat. Unfortunately, after one season, the Cobras left the league with the Beermen leaving after they won the title in 2013.

In 2014, Laskar Dreya South Sumatra (INA) joined ABL, but they left after the 2014 season.

In 2015, Pilipinas MX3 Kings and Mono Vampire joined the league. Unfortunately, both teams left the league in 2016.

On 17 July 2016, it was announced that Kaohsiung Truth, a team from Kaohsiung, Taiwan will participate in the 2016–17 season. This will be the first time that a team outside Southeast Asia will compete in the league.[2]

On 30 July 2016, another team outside Southeast Asia, the Eastern Basketball Club confirmed its participation in the league, being the second non-Southeast Asian team to join the league.[3]

On 6 August 2016, Alab Pilipinas from the Philippines is the newest team to join ABL. The team is owned by Dondon Monteverde and player-agent Charlie Dy.

League format[edit]

Logo used from the second to the third season with AirAsia as the title sponsor.

The league, as of the 2015–16 season, is held via a quadruple home and away format where each team faces each other four times during regular season; as such the number of total games per regular season varies depending on the number of participating teams in that year. At the end of the regular season, the four teams with the best records qualifies for the playoffs. In the best-of-three semifinals, the top 2 seeds will have the home court advantage against the lower seeds and will host the first and third (if necessary) games. In the first season, the finals was a best-of-five series, with the higher seed hosting the first two and the fifth (if necessary) games. The Finals format was changed to a best of three series for the second and third seasons, where the higher-ranked team earns home-court advantage and hosts the first and third (if necessary) games. For the fourth season, it will be a quadruple home and away format where each team faces each other 4 times with the semis,a best-of-five, and the finals, a best-of-five series. In the fifth season, the playoff format was changed into a best-of-3 format both in the semi-finals and the finals. Starting in the sixth season, the league reverted its playoff format to a best-of-3 in the semi-finals and a best-of-5 series in the finals, similar to the first season's playoff format.[citation needed]

The champions are supposed to represent the Southeast Asia Basketball Association (SEABA) in the FIBA Asia Champions Cup. However, since the tournament only limits one club per country, the 2010 champions Philippine Patriots were disallowed from participating since the Smart Gilas Philippine team had already qualified. In 2011, the Chang Thailand Slammers were supposed to represent SEABA but the Thailand Basketball Federation was then suspended by FIBA; this caused the Westports KL Dragons to represent SEABA, as the runner-up Patriots' slot was already taken by the Smart Gilas.[citation needed]

So far, No ABL team have played in the FIBA Asia Champions Cup since 2011, until Westports Malaysia Dragons won the ABL title in 2016, thus earning a slot in the tournament.


Locations of ABL teams. (Correct as of 2016–17 season)
Team City / Region Arena Capacity Founded Joined ABL Head coach
Hong Kong Hong Kong Eastern Long Lions Hong Kong Southorn Stadium, Wan Chai 2,000 1932 2016 Spain Eduard Torres
Chinese Taipei Kaohsiung Truth Kaohsiung Kaohsiung Municipal Senior High School Gym 2,000 2016 2016 Chinese Taipei Sabatino Chen
Vietnam Saigon Heat Ho Chi Minh City CIS Arena 2,500 2011 2012 United Kingdom Anthony Garbelotto
Singapore Singapore Slingers Singapore OCBC Arena, Kallang 3,000 2006 2009 Singapore Neo Beng Siang
Malaysia Westports Malaysia Dragons Kuala Lumpur MABA Stadium 2,500 2009 United States Chris Thomas
Cyberjaya House of Champions, Gem-In Mall
Philippines Alab Pilipinas Binan, Laguna Alonte Sports Arena 5,000 2016 Philippines Mac Cuan
Baliuag, Bulacan Baliuag Star Arena
Davao City Davao City Recreation Center 2,500
Parañaque Olivarez College Gym 5,000
Santa Rosa, Laguna Sta. Rosa Arena
Antipolo Ynares Center 7,400

Former teams[edit]

ASEAN Basketball League is located in Southeast Asia
Laskar Dreya (alt)
Laskar Dreya (alt)
Laskar Dreya
Laskar Dreya
Locations of former ABL teams.
Country Team Years
From To
 Brunei Brunei Barracudas 2009 2011
 Indonesia Indonesia Warriors 2009 2014
Laskar Dreya South Sumatra 2014
 Philippines AirAsia Philippine Patriots 2009 2012
Pilipinas MX3 Kings 2015 2016
San Miguel Beermen 2012 2013
 Thailand Bangkok Cobras 2012
Hi-Tech Bangkok City 2009 2016
Mono Vampire 2015 2016


The finals was a best-of-5 (2–2–1) series (2010, 2013, 2016–present), it became best-of-3 (1–1–1) series from 2011–12 and 2014.

Season Finalists Semifinalists
Country Champions Result Country Runners-up Country Semifinalist Country Semifinalist
2009–10  PHI Philippine Patriots^ 3–0  INA Satria Muda BritAma  SIN Singapore Slingers  MAS Kuala Lumpur Dragons
2010–11  THA Chang Thailand Slammers^ 2–0  PHI AirAsia Philippine Patriots  MAS Westports KL Dragons  SIN Singapore Slingers
2012  INA Indonesia Warriors 2–1  PHI San Miguel Beermen^  PHI AirAsia Philippine Patriots  MAS Westports Malaysia Dragons
2013  PHI San Miguel Beermen^ 3–0  INA Indonesia Warriors  MAS Westports Malaysia Dragons  THA Sports Rev Thailand Slammers
2014  THA Hi-Tech Bangkok City 2–0  MAS Westports Malaysia Dragons^  SIN Singapore Slingers  VIE Saigon Heat
2015–16  MAS Westports Malaysia Dragons^ 3-2  SIN Singapore Slingers  THA Hi-Tech Bangkok City  VIE Saigon Heat
2016-17  HKG Hong Kong Eastern Long Lions^ 3-1  SIN Singapore Slingers  PHI Alab Pilipinas  VIE Saigon Heat
  • ^ finished regular season with the best win-loss record.

Individual awards[edit]

The league awards five (5) individual awards: the Local MVP, World Import MVP, ASEAN Heritage MVP and the Defensive Player of the Year awards to its players and the Coach of the Year award given to the league's best head coach.

Prior to the 2015–16 ABL season, there was only one (1) MVP award for imports and was called the Best Import award. It was divided into two for World Imports (for players hailing from outside Southeast Asia and to the ASEAN Heritage Imports (for players from other Southeast Asian countries or players with at least one Southeast Asian parent).

Also, the Defensive Player of the Year and Coach of the Year awards were only awarded since the 2012 season.

Most Valuable Players[edit]


Defensive Player of the Year[edit]

Season Player Nationality Team
2012 Steven Thomas  United States Indonesia Warriors
2013 Christien Charles  United States Sports Rev Thailand Slammers
2014 Justin Williams  United States Saigon Heat
2015–16 Christien Charles  United States Hi-Tech Bangkok City
2016–17 Justin Howard  United States Singapore Slingers

Coach of the Year[edit]

Season Player Nationality Team
2012 Todd Purves  United States Indonesia Warriors
2013 Leo Austria  Philippines San Miguel Beermen
2014 Ariel Vanguardia  Philippines Westports Malaysia Dragons
2015–16 Neo Beng Siang  Singapore Singapore Slingers
2016–17 Edu Torres  Spain Eastern Long Lions


External links[edit]