SINGAPORE — The Singapore Slingers, the only professional basketball club in the city-state, are being thrown into uncertainty. This comes after they announced in a media statement on Monday (20 November) that the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) - the league in which the Slingers have played in since 2009 - is unlikely to play in the foreseeable future.
The bombshell announcement came after the ABL was informed by FIBA, basketball's world governing body, that it does not fit into future plans for the sport in the region, despite the league being active for 11 seasons.
"FIBA will be selective of which leagues it would support and allow moving forward. Its clear instructions to the regional basketball federations essentially denied the ABL a viable future," the Slingers said in its statement. "the ABL has spent the past two years trying to find a compromise with FIBA without success."
Exploring with SportSG on future plans
The Slingers were founded in 2006, and originally competed in Australia's National Basketball League for two seasons. They became one of the six founding members of the ABL in 2009, and played nine consecutive seasons before the league was suspended from 2019 to 2022 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
While they did not win the ABL title, they came in second in three of the seasons (2015/16, 2016/17 and 2018/19). Throughout their ABL seasons, the Slingers featured top local basketballers such as Koh Meng Koon, Desmond Oh and Delvin Goh, as well as talented foreign players such as Americans Xavier Alexander and Justin Howard, and Filipino Al Vergara.
The ABL restarted in January this year, with eight teams participating under the ABL Invitational, including the Slingers. This would likely prove to be the league's final competition.
With the end of the ABL, the Slingers will be exploring with Sport Singapore (SportSG) how they can continue to be a development platform for Singapore's top basketball players.
"The Slingers have been a feature in the local basketball scene though their competition in the ABL, community outreach programmes as well as its support of the ActiveSG Basketball Academy," the club said in its media statement. "We believe that the goodwill continues to reside in the fans, players past and present as well as the younger generations of Singaporeans who have been exposed to basketball via the Slingers."
SportSG confirmed in a media statement that it is working with the Basketball Association of Singapore to ensure that the national basketballers who play for the Slingers will continue to have training and competition opportunities.
"Our ActiveSG Basketball Academy (ABA) will also support affected players who wish to pursue coaching under the National Registry of Coaches scheme," it added in its statement.
"ABA will continue to involve our national players in its programmes and leverage their experience to mentor our junior programme participants."
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