Despite numerous attempts to resume its 10th season, the ASEAN Basketball League could not find a way, instead shutting down the entire season.
In a press release, the league said that the worsening situation of the ongoing coranavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has prompted the league’s board to make the tough decision.
“The ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) board has met and announces today that the ABL Season 2019-2020 will be deemed concluded as there is no safe way to complete the remaining fixtures,” it read.
“This decision is not an easy one and has not been made lightly. The overriding factor of our social responsibility, health and the well-being of all our stakeholders was at the forefront of the discussion.”
The last time the league played a game was back in February 23.
But with the pandemic breaking out, then-league COO Jericho Ilagan had to suspend the league.
His team thought of many ways to resume play, including holding a pocket tournament in either Malaysia or Myanmar but travel restrictions shut down the idea.
“At all times, the ABL board have been conscious of our charter, to provide a high-level regional basketball competition platform for teams to compete and athletes to showcase their skills while entertaining fans in a safe and enjoyable manner,” the statement continued.
“As the COVID-19 turned into a pandemic, the nature of the league’s operation and fixtures have been severely impacted by the closure of borders and activities in order to contain the virus. With that in mind, the league recognizes that the COVID-19 pandemic continues to present significant challenges to our operation and safety of everyone, thus rendering completion of the league improbable.”
Mono Vampire led the league with a 12-4 card, but the team decided to disband.
Alab Pilipinas placed second with a 10-6 slate.
“The league would be categorized as incomplete due to the nature of the league’s format with a playoff system, it would be impossible to determine a rightful champion.”
Other members of the league are the Kuala Lumpur Dragons, the Formosa Dreamers, the Fubon Braves, the Macau Black Bears, the Singapore Slingers, the Macau Wolf Warriors, Hong Kong Eastern, and the Saigon Heat.
Despite rumors of problems in the league, the ABL board said that it will return for a 2020-21 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.”