The ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) has announced that it is indefinitely suspending all its games due to the continuous spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
The league made the announcement on Friday afternoon.
“With the World Health Organization declaring COVID-19 as a global pandemic, the ABL, with the unanimous support of all its member teams, sees no other recourse but to halt competitions in its ongoing tenth season,” the statement of league CEO Jericho Ilagan read.
Since February 23, only a single game has been played in the regional league, a 99-79 win by Alab Pilipinas over the Saigon Heat in Laguna.
Wednesday evening, Alab, together with Hong Kong, Macau, and Formosa, asked the league to suspend its operations just like what other leagues have done.
“This unprecedented situation demanded due diligence from the ABL’s part to ensure that the voice of all stakeholders will be heard and their needs met,” Ilagan’s statement continued.
“All teams needed ample time to sort out their contracts as they also have commitments to advertisers, venues, and broadcast partners that had to be ironed out before we reached a unified decision.”
For their part, the league has exhausted all possible remedies to continue the season, including holding games on neutral grounds. However, the travel restrictions imposed by certain nations have made it infeasible.
“The ABL explored all options in an effort to continue to deliver top-quality basketball and entertainment to our loyal fans. The league looked at booking neutral venues where multiple teams could play some of their postponed games,” the statement explained.
“However, the travel restrictions in the region, the quarantine requirements upon the teams’ return to their respective countries, and heeding the advice of multiple government institutions have led to the decision to suspend our season.”
The league will look to continue its operations once the virus has been contained globally.
“We thank all the teams for their patience and their willingness to exhaust all means to push through. The ABL will be closely monitoring the situation in the region as it plots a path to move forward.”