Covid-19 hits ASEAN basketball

By Dang Khoa   March 17, 2020 | 01:13 am PT
Covid-19 hits ASEAN basketball
Vietnam's Saigon Heat attempt to score against Taiwan's Formosa Dreamers on home turf, CIS Arena on the campus of the Canadian International School in Saigon's District 7, January 18, 2020. Photo courtesy of Saigon Heat.
ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) will suspend the 2019-2020 season indefinitely to help contain the novel coronavirus.

The decision to postpone the season, featuring over 50 matches, was made to protect the well-being of players and spectators after Covid-19 was designated a pandemic. The league had first tried to reschedule games, but faced many travel restrictions, restrictive quarantine requirements, and opposition from government institutions.

The association stated it was exploring other options in order to placate its loyal fan base.

Saigon Heat’s away game against Kuala Lumpur Dragons on March 20 falls among matches to be suspended.

The ABL 10 season commenced on November 16, 2019 with 10 teams participating - Vietnam's Saigon Heat, Malaysia's Kuala Lumpur Dragons, Singapore Slingers, Hong Kong Eastern, Taiwan's Formosa Dreamers, the Philippines' San Miguel Alab Pilipinas, Thailand's Mono Vampire, Macau Black Bears, Macau's Wolf Warriors and a new face, Taipei's Fubon Braves.

Saigon Heat, having made the tournament semifinals thrice, did not have a strong start to the season, placed 10th after winning only three of 14 games. The team was defeated by 79-99 in an away match against San Miguel Alab Pilipinas on February 23.

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