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ABL to focus on 2021 as 10th season ‘concluded’

The current ABL season is now canceled. Nikki Collantes (file photo)
By Drew Malihan

MANILA – The ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) will set its sights in the 2020-2021 season as they broke their silence on Wednesday.

In a statement posted on their official Facebook page, the league quoted that the 2019-2020 season is over.

“The ABL Season 2019/2020 will be deemed concluded as there is no safe way to complete the remaining fixtures,” the ABL board said.

The regional league began its 10th season in late 2019 until they postponed the remaining fixtures in March 13 due to the increasing cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) across the Southeast Asian region.

ABL also added that the season will be categorized as “incomplete due to the nature of league’s format with a playoff system.”

The league said “it would be impossible to determine a rightful champion” for the suspended season.

Thailand’s Mono Vampire led the regular season standings with 12 wins and six losses before the league was suspended, with San Miguel Alab Pilipinas and Kuala Lumpur Dragons in second and third with 10-6 and 10-7 slates, respectively.

The league said that they looked for ways to continue the initially-suspended season with a shortened season but failed due to closure of borders between competing nations to contain the pandemic.

Amid fears of folding the league, ABL assures fans of having an 11th season.

"We will now turn our efforts into planning for the next ASEAN Basketball League season in 2021 and hope to make announcements on the 11th ABL Season after completing consultations among the teams,” ABL stated.

“We are determined to find a way forward and return to the courts bigger and better alongside all our teams, commercial partners and fans,” the league added.

Follow him on Twitter: @drewmalihan