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Ilagan bullish Indonesia, Thailand will make ABL return

Ivan Saldajeno
By Ivan Saldajeno

PARAÑAQUE—Indonesia and Thailand have been sending teams to the ABL since its inception in 2009 with the latter even having two representatives last season in Hi-Tech Bangkok, one of the league's founding members, and Mono Vampire.

However, due to some tweaks in their respective domestic leagues, both countries opted to beg off from this season.

ABL COO Jericho Ilagan told some sportswriters during the Philippine media launch of the league at the Solaire Grand Ballroom on Monday the amendments both nations made.

"Hinabaan nila ang liga nila. Naapektuhan ang schedule namin," he bared.

He, however, expressed confidence that Indonesia and Thailand will be back for next season.

"We're aligning our schedule with Indonesia so that we'll have an Indonesian team next year. Alam niyo naman pag sa Southeast Asia, ang pinaguusapan palagi [ay ang] Indonesia-Philippines [rivalry].... We're also working with the federation in Thailand to ensure that their league is also in sync with the ABL," said Ilagan.

The arrival of East Asian teams Eastern and Kaohsiung maintained the number of the participating franchises to six, and for Ilagan, it was timely.

"Our goal is always to develop Southeast Asians. If we'll be able to get teams outside Southeast Asia to assist the development and growth in the region, even if [it's] from [South] Korea, Japan, China, or even from Australia, we will do so," he revealed the purpose of stretching the ABL reach to the north.

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