Saigon Heat ready for ABL in Singapore

December 24, 2022 - 08:17
This is the 10th time the Heat have participated in the ABL, and they are one of the teams participating in the tournament the most.


Coach Matt van Pelt and Saigon Heat players. They will leave for Singapore on January 1, 2023, to prepare for the upcoming ABL. — Photo


HÀ NỘI — Saigon Heat are ready for the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) 2023, which will start on January 2 in Singapore after a three-year lull because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

This is the 10th time the Heat have participated in the ABL, and they are one of the teams participating in the tournament the most.

Most of the players of the Heat at the regional event will be domestic players who won the Vietnamese Basketball Association (VBA) League 2022, such as Nguyễn Huỳnh Phú Vinh, Võ Kim Bản, Dư Minh An, Đinh Khải Tâm, and Khoa Trần.

In this event, the Heat registered two overseas Vietnamese players, including Dominique Tham, a rookie who has made a good impression in the jersey of Nha Trang Dolphins at the VBA this year.

Matt van Pelt, who helped the Heat successfully defend the VBA championship in the 2022 season, will lead the team.

The upcoming ABL will attract the participation of eight teams. They are Cooly Bangkok Tigers of Thailand, Hong Kong Eastern from China's Hong Kong, Louvre Indonesia of Indonesia, Macau Black Bears of China's Ma Cao, NS Matrix of Malaysia, Saigon Heat of Việt Nam, Singapore Slingers of Singapore and Zamboanga Valientes of the Philippines.

Notably, the ABL 2023 will not play in the home-away format as before. Instead, it is divided into four stages of the group stage, and each stage will take place in a different location.

Specifically, stage 1 will occur in Kallang, Singapore, on January 2 - 8, 2023; Stage 2 in Palembang, Indonesia, on January 12 - 18; Stage 3 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, on February 3 - 8; and Stage 4 in HCM City on February 12 - 17.

After finishing the four stages of the group stage, the four best teams will advance to the knockout stage (semi-finals and final), which will take place in Singapore on March 3 – 5.

ABL chief executive officer Kuhan Foo is pleased with the return of the first-ever regional basketball league in Asia, noting that the move is a huge step forward in sustaining the sport's growth in the region which was established over the past ten years.

"We're glad to announce that the ABL is finally coming back for its 11th season with the 2023 ABL Invitational Tournament Series. After the COVID-19 pandemic caused a halt to sport, the return of the ABL is a huge step in the right direction as we hope to give our fans a sense of normalcy while we continue to recover from the after-effects of the pandemic," Foo said.

"We are excited to welcome our teams, our players and our fans back in our bid to further foster the growth of basketball across the region," he added, stressing the role of the league to the vast improvements of countries like Singapore and Việt Nam which finally won historic medals in the Southeast Asian Games with the former winning in 2013 and 2015 while the latter bagging one in 2019.

At present, all players of the Heat are in good form, and they will leave for Singapore on January 1, to prepare for the opening match against the Macau Black Bears on January 3. VNS