Saigon Heat joins ASEAN Basketball League

Posted at 10/20/2011 8:37 PM | Updated as of 10/20/2011 8:37 PM

MANILA, Philippines - The Saigon Sports Academy (SSA) officially announced the participation of the SSA Saigon Heat team into the third season of the AirAsia ASEAN Basketball League (ABL).

SSA Saigon Heat will be the first ever international professional basketball team to represent Vietnam.

"Saigon Sports Academy is very proud to launch the first professional basketball team from Vietnam to participate in the AirAsia ABL," Hoang Nguyen, chairman of SSA said in a statement.

"The Saigon Heat will have a mix of top caliber players internationally and from Vietnam. Most of our players will be from Vietnam, and we expect to represent the country with great honor in the AirAsia ABL," Nguyen added.

Nguyen is hopeful that the Saigon Heat can bring home the ABL trophy, and added that the team will also help in developing basketball in the country.

Kuhan Foo, chief executive officer of the ABL, believes the Saigon Sports Academy will be able to use the ABL "as a platform to breed and improve the best basketball players in Vietnam."

Aside from the Saigon Heat, the third season of the ABL will also feature newcomers Bangkok Basketball Holdings from Thailand and the San Miguel Beermen from the Philippines.

Eight teams will vie for the crown in ABL's Season 3, up from six teams in Season 2.

The third season of the ABL will tip off on January 14, 2012 and will feature defending champions Chang Thailand Slammers and runners-up AirAsia Philippine Patriots.

Also playing are the Westports KL Dragons, Singapore Slingers, and the Indonesia Warriors.