Australian champions in the mix for Merlion Cup
Basketball fans in Singapore are in for a treat next month, when the Singapore Slingers do battle alongside five foreign teams in the Merlion Cup.
This year's tournament, which will be held from Sept 20 to 24 at the OCBC Arena, is set to be more intense with four teams making their debut, the Basketball Association of Singapore (BAS) announced yesterday.
The new teams are Australian champions Adelaide 36ers, the Philippines' Alab Pilipinas, South Korea's Jeonju KCC Egis and Taiwan's Yulen Luxgen Dinos.
Completing the six-team tournament are defending champions Shanghai Sharks, who beat Philippine side Mighty Sports before 3,000 fans in last year's final.
The Sharks' former NBA player, Jimmer Fredette, will also be back.
The American, who played for the NBA's Sacramento Kings, Chicago Bulls, New Orleans Pelicans and the New York Knicks, was instrumental in the Sharks' triumph last year.
BAS president David Ong said: "There is a strong fan support and enthusiasm for basketball in Singapore.
"We want to promote basketball across all ages and fill up the stadiums. We want to have even more people come down this year.
"We will try to make sure that fans will get to see equally competitive matches from the teams competing.
"Our aim is to make it exciting and bring in top quality teams."
Building up to the tournament, the BAS will be organising coaching clinics, workshops and meet-and-greet sessions with players.
A basketball festival involving the Slingers and the 36ers will be held at OCBC Square on Sept 17.
Tickets start from $18 for weekday (preliminary) matches, and $25 for the weekend (semi-finals and finals).
There are also early-bird packages for season tickets, starting from $75 for a regular seat.
Tickets are available at Apactix from today for early-bird season and corporate packages, and from Aug 7 for standard weekday and weekend tickets.