From left : Connor Nguyen, General Director of Siam Sports Academy, Mr. Kuhan Foo Chief, Executive Officer of The AirASia ABL, Mr. Erick Thohir , President of South East Asia Basketball Association, Mr. Nguyen Dang Khoa, representative of Ho Chi Minh Department of Cultural, Sports and Tourism , Mr. Nquyen Quoc Quan, Gen Sec of Vietnam Basketball Federation and Vice Gen Sec of ASEAN Basketball Federation, Henry Nguyen , Chairman of Siam Sports Academy, Mr. Quek Chiang Hiang, Deputy President of FIBA, Mr. Nguyen Minh Hoang representative of Ho Chi Minh Department of Cultural, Sports and Tourism.
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, 20th October 2011 – The Saigon Sports Academy (SSA) today officially announced the participation of SSA Saigon Heat into the AirAsia ASEAN Basketball League’s (AirAsia ABL) third season, making them 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. “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. The Saigon Heat will work hard together to bring home the championship trophy for Vietnam, and we hope that the team will also contribute to the development of basketball in Vietnam.”
“We are happy that our two year search has yielded a great partner in the SSA Saigon Heat.” Mr. Kuhan Foo, Chief Executive Officer of the AirAsia ASEAN Basketball League said. “With their strong background I believe that Saigon Sports Academy will be able to use the AirAsia ABL as a platform to breed and improve the best basketball players in Vietnam as well as create a higher aspiration for players to represent their country among their ASEAN peers on a weekly basis.”
The AirAsia ASEAN Basketball League’s third season is scheduled to tip off on the 14th of January 2012 and will feature defending champions the Chang Thailand Slammers and runner ups the AirAsia Philippine Patriots as well as season 2 competitors the Westports KL Dragons, Singapore Slingers and the Indonesia Warriors (formerly known as Satria Muda BritAma).
Apart from SSA Saigon Heat, there will also be two other new teams competing for the trophy in season 3, newcomers Bangkok Basketball Holdings from Thailand and PBA legends the San Miguel Beermen from the Philippines bringing the total participating teams for the AirAsia ABL’s season 3 up to eight teams from season 2’s six.