The ABL - The overview as of Nov 25, 2009

Check your TV sets during Sundays and simultaneously with the first of PBA’s Sunday double header, you have just earned front row seats to the Asian Basketball League. The league is a super-league designed to lure the top basketball players of the South East Asian region (that can’t or barely play in the PBA). This will prove important in strengthening basketball in an area, our Asian neighbors belittle. There are six teams battling for supremacy with one team having nine local players, two non-South East Asian imports and three South East Asian imports.

Parading the best in the six-team bunch are the Singapore Slingers and the Philippine Patriots.

SINGAPORE SLINGERS: The Slingers, owned by Bob Turner, was originally the Canberra Cannons of the Australia’s National Basketball League. They then moved to Hunter (to become the Pirates) before settling in Singapore. As the Slingers, they played in the league for three seasons. The team decided to bail out of the league when the league was experiencing financial woes and the back-and-forth travel proved costly for the Slingers. It should be noted that they signed current TNT Tropang Texter Jason Castro. When news broke out that the Slingers are leaving the NBL, he wanted out of his contract. The Slingers accepted this but they need a player in return. Among the names that popped up were former PBA MVP Johnny Abarrientos and Harbour Centre alum Al Vergara. They chose Vergara to add youth in their PG spot. During his Slinger break, Vergara played briefly for the Purefoods Giants in the PBA putting in 2.4ppg, 2.0apg, and 0.9spg in eight games (played during the first part of the Fiesta Cup).

Anyway, Frank Arsego is calling the shots for the Slingers. Import Mike LeBlanc is the team’s top scorer with 18.7ppg (to go with 7.1ppg). Kyle Jeffers is their main rebounder (15.4ppg and 13.7rpg) and Al Vergara is their top playmaker with 3.3apg (to go with 9.3ppg). Marcus Ng (7.7ppg, 4.1rpg, 2.0apg), and Wei Jian Hong (7.4ppg, 2.6rpg, 1spg) are the teams top 5 scorers.

THAILAND TIGERS: The Tigers parade three Pinoys in Axel Doruelo (9.3ppg, 3.8, 1.0apg, 1.2spg), Ricky Ricafuerte (5.8ppg), and Glenn Bolocon (6.0ppg). Wonder not about these players because they popular in SE Asia as much as in their own country. Anyway, import Chaz Briggs leads the team in scoring (19.8ppg). The guy with an awesome name Attaporn Lertmalaiporn (15.8ppg) leads the locals in points while Ikenna Chukwuemeka Nwankwo (8.3ppg, 9.2rpg, 2.0bpg) is their towering presence.

SATRIA MUDA BRITAMA: The other SMB of Asia, this Indonesian League ballclub is the country’s representative in the League. Gideon Roring is the team’s coach. Former Red Bull import Alex Hartmann is the team’s top guy (18.7ppg, 5.1rpg). Nakiea Miller is the team’s other import (14.5ppg, 16.0rpg, 4.5bpg). Faisal Julius, Christian Sitepu, and Amin Prihantono are their local bets. Former PBA quarterback Rensy Bajar (11.0ppg, 3.4apg, 1.4spg) is the team’s top playmaker.

BRUNEI BARRACUDAS: Former FedEx coach and former TNT assistant coach Bong Ramos acts chief in this ballclub. The team heavily relies on non-Asian import Michael Pilgrim (15.4ppg, 8.1rpg). However, the team equipped themselves with three talented Pinoy reinforcements like former Sta. Lucia, San Miguel, and Red Bull player Francis Adriano (13.4ppg, 3.6rpg, 2.0apg, 1.7spg), former TNT and Coke player Leo Avenido (14.9ppg, 6.9rpg, 2.7apg, 1.0spg), and former TNT, Alaska, Purefoods and Red Bull standout Don Camaso (10.6ppg, 4.4rpg). They also scoured Reggie Larry to shore up their scoring (23.5ppg, 7.0rpg).

KUALA LUMPUR DRAGONS: Goh Cheng Huat is the mentor of the squad. KL boasts Jamal Brown (11.1ppg, 9.4rpg) and Chris Kuete (18.0ppg, 9.8rpg) in their fray. Their locals include Shee Fai Loh, Guganeswaran Batumalai, and Li Wei Chee. Their Pinoy pickup are composed of UAAP standouts like Adamson’s Roel Hugnatan (8.3ppg, 3.7rpg), and UE’s Toto Bandaying (11.5ppg, 1.3rpg) and Rudy Lingganay (17.3ppg, 4.3rpg, 2.3apg).

PHILIPPINE PATRIOTS: All teams in the ABL have Pinoys in them, which make the Patriots the automatic team to beat. Their reinforcements are former Coke import Jason Dixon (12.2ppg, 9.7rpg, 1.0bpg) and Brandon Powell (13.0ppg, 5.8rpg). The team snatched Rob Wainwright (7.7ppg, 3.0rpg) and Mark Andaya (recently released by the squad) from Barako Bull when they were traded to the squad for the rights of Jeff Chan and Mike Hrabak. The team is a collection of players owned by Mikee Romero and Tony Boy Conjuangco. Former PBA stars include Red Bull’s Warren Ybanez, SMB’s Froilan Baguion and Sta. Lucia’s Christian Coronel. Jerwin Gaco is a long-time member of the Harbour Centre franchise. Other collegiate big names include Ateneo’s Nonoy Baclao, UE’s Elmer Espiritu and Val Acuna, Letran’s Dino Daa and JP Alcaraz, and UST’s Khasim Mirza. Louie Alas spearheads their struggle.

The Patriots have an impressive lineup whose main downside is their constant changing of players. The Slingers seem to gel nicely since their lineup is pretty much intact since two years ago. Like I said, when the end nears, it will be Singapore against the Philippines.

Get the news about the ABL at and watch the games on TV5 every Sundays at 4pm.

Game Over.


  1. Philippines will be the Champ 66.7 %
    Singapore 33.2 %

  2. i want to say that too. but this all depends on how the patriots closes their road to the finals.