The ASEAN Basketball League has gone a long way since its establishment back in 2009. This upcoming season especially serves as an important one with it being its 10th. To commemorate a decade of its existence and Saigon Heat’s participation in it, here are the 10 essential things you should remember about the league: 

1.The ABL’s initial objective was to expand the basketball scene in Southeast Asia

The ASEAN Basketball League is a professional men’s basketball league first launched in 2009. Its primary goal prior was to further develop basketball across Southeast Asia and other nearby regions. 

The six teams participating in the ABL were officially launched in Manila on 1st September 2009

2. The league has its own set of unique rules

While each team gets to play in their hometown, they are required to compete in their opponents’ respective counties as well.

Other unique rules include: the top 4 teams playing in a ‘best-of-3’ semi-finals, the first and second seed getting home court advantage for the first and third (if necessary) games, and the team that advances from the playoffs compete a ‘best-of-5’ finals series.

3. The first-ever ABL game was held in Jakarta, Indonesia

The inaugural game of the ABL was played on October 10, 2009 - with the game taking place in Jakarta, Indonesia. In their home court, Satria Muda Britama went up against the visiting Philippine Patriots.

4. The Singapore Slingers and Westports Malaysian Dragons are the longest competing teams in the ABL

Both teams participated in the first-ever ABL season and have since then competed in the league.

5.The first ABL champion was chosen to represent Southeast Asia in the FIBA Asian Champions Cup

During its inaugural season, aside from being declared as champions, the ABL winning team would be selected to compete in the FIBA Asian Champions cup. They would not only represent Southeast Asia but will also be up against other teams in the continent.

6. The ABL has five teams that are not from Southeast Asia

Despite the ABL initially catering to ASEAN countries, the league later on expanded beyond Southeast Asia when they welcomed Hong Kong’s Eastern Lions and Taiwan’s Kaohsiung Truth in 2016.

Hong Kong’s Eastern Long Lions crowned Asean basketball champions after stunning debut season

The current competing non-southeast Asian teams are: Taiwan’s Formosa Dreamers & Fubon Braves, Macau Black Bears, Zhuhai Wolf Warriors, and Hong Kong Eastern.

7. Saigon Heat made their team debut by participating in the ABL

Being the first-ever professional basketball team in Vietnam, Saigon Heat made their debut by competing in the ABL during its 7th season.

8. Saigon Heat is currently the only team to represent Vietnam

Saigon Heat was originally formed in 2011, specifically made to represent Vietnam and compete in the ABL. Up to this day, they are still the only team from Vietnam in the league.

9. Saigon Heat had their first playoffs home game in ABL9

In the previous ABL season, Saigon Heat reached a new milestone by successfully making it to the playoffs round for the very first time since competing. The team was also ranked fifth after the regular season.

10. Saigon Heat was specifically formed to compete in the ABL

Team owner Connor Nguyen, first envisioned putting together Saigon Heat for the purpose of representing Vietnam and to compete in the ABL.

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