|This could be the last season the Saigon Heat play in the ABL as the league is on the verge of shutting down due to the COVID-19 pandemic. — Photo vtv.vn
HÀ NỘI — The ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) 2019-20 season could be the last season of the regional tournament as participating teams have decided to withdraw due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Since the announcement the league was suspended indefinitely on March 13, many teams have decided to join other leagues ahead of the ABL's proposed October restart.
The Formosa Dreams and Taipei Fubon Braves have decided to join a Taiwanese league, while Thai team Mono Vampire has since decided to focus on the Thailand Basketball League as well.
The representative of Việt Nam, Saigon Heat might also decide to withdraw from the tournament to focus on defending their VBA title.
The pandemic has also thrown the ABL organisation into financial difficulties.
Multiple websites reported on Thursday that the regional league chose not to renew the contracts of CEO Jericho Ilagan and his staff to cut costs as the virus continues to spread.
In addition, the main backer of the league, budget airline AirAsia, has reported that they lost US$187.91 million in the first quarter of this year.
This season was supposed to be a celebration of ABL’s 10 years of existence. But the pandemic has forced the league to suspend the season indefinitely since March. — VNS