ABL settles for six-team season as league drops plan to fund Philippine-based club
The Asean Basketball League has decided to move on without a Philippine-based squad but teams can still sign Filipinos as imports. Jerome Ascano

THERE will definitely be no Philippine team in this year’s Asean Basketball League.

Spin.ph learned from a source that the ABL has set a July 16 opening date featuring six teams, none from the Philippines, for the fifth season of the league.

The league was turned down by several Philippine companies that were invited to put up an ABL team, and a league plan to fund a Philippine-based team for the 2014 season fell through.

“The league is open to bankroll a team but not this year,” said the source, who refused to be named.

It will be the first time no team will represent the Philippines, a basketball powerhouse in the Southeast Asian region, in the ABL.

The Louie Alas-coached Philippine Patriots ruled the league's maiden season in 2009-2010 and the San Miguel Beermen led by Asi Taulava and Chris Banchero topped the 2013 event.

San Miguel, however, pulled out of the league this season.

Blackwater Sports looked set to join the league but the plan was scrapped after its application for membership in the Philippine Basketball Association was approved.

According to the source, the league’s schedule is already in place with the ABL season playing until November. FOX Sports will continue to air the ABL games, added the source.

The Indonesia Warriors, runners-up to the Beermen in 2013, have reverted to their old name Satria Muda Britama for the 2014 season and will be joined by another Indonesia team that is also playing in the country’s local league.

Also playing in 2014 are the Westports Malaysia Dragons, Singapore Slingers, Saigon Heat, and two teams from Thailand.

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