Asean Basketball League confident of growth in challenging times
THIS is no six nations championship.
Well, it is, for at least a season.
But several veteran sports league organizers and corporate executives consider basketball as the second-most popular sport in the world next to football, and believe that with 600 million people in the region, the Asean Basketball League (ABL) will thrive.
Of course, rugby’s Six Nations Championship—which, until the year 2000, was known as the Five Nations and decades before that the Home Nations featuring four squads—is a battle among nations and not commercial squads like the ABL.
The clubs from six countries in Southeast Asia get to field five nationals and are allowed to hire imports from outside of the region and players from neighboring countries, including rival nations. Teams play home and away eliminations and playoffs.
That should make the newest cage league—the first commercial basketball competition in the region—more like a small-scale version of the European football leagues.
Several team owners have yet to actually complete their rosters for the first season coming off the wraps in October, but they are confident of the progress that they believe the league will soon be able to expand to a dozen and are envisioning a full lineup of 20 squads—perhaps looking at the model of the premier divisions in the English, Italian and Spanish football.
“This will not be limited to six nations. We’ll try to expand it to as far as 20, probably in two years’ time,” said Mikee Romero, who coowns the Philippine Patriots with Tony Boy Cojuangco.
Mikee Romero (top left), coowner of the Philippine Patriots, explains the new league’s concept and later joins organizers, team owners and some of the players in posing before photographers.
“This is Southeast Asia’s answer to the big leagues,” he added.
The league, launched on Tuesday in Makati City with top executives of the clubs in attendance, is also looking forward to a world club competition to be organized by basketball’s world governing body, the Federation Internationale de Basketball.
“It is the dream of the association to see some of our members be among the best in the Asian region,” said Southeast Asian Basketball Association president Erick Thohir of Indonesia.
Thohir noted that economy in the region is “okay,” and inspired by the growth of cricket in India, the ABL has high hopes.
He cited an article in a regional magazine which said that in two years, the Indian cricket league is expected to gain revenue comparable with those of the premier football leagues in Europe.
“That’s cricket. Basketball is the No. 2 sport in the world right now,” he said, stressing that with hard work, the sport can reach greater heights as football in the region. Domestic leagues in Southeast Asia, he said, get higher television ratings than the English Premier League.
The games will be shown in the Philippines on TV5. The league is currently also negotiating with international carriers.
The Philippine Patriots will battle it out against The Brunei Barracudas, KL Dragons of Malaysia, Indonesia’s Satria Muda BritAma, the Thailand Tigers and the Singapore Slingers, which competes in the Australian League.
The league was formed in January and will have its first season from October to February with the finals to be held in Malaysia.
The ABL will also have a junior development program for players aged 17 and below.
Imports will have a maximum salary of $10,000 a month. There will be no salary caps for nationals.
rinig ko si Johnny A. and Vergel Meneses kasama sa team.. then Chico Lanete then Louie Alas as Coach.....
mag click kaya to?
kung may similar thread please merge.....