Wong bids farewell to Singapore Slingers
Two-time ABL Local MVP will focus on his business
Wong Wei Long, a winner of two Asean Basketball League (ABL) Local MVP awards, has called a time-out on his Singapore Slingers career.
The 29-year-old confirmed with The New Paper that he will be focusing on his basketball academy instead, although he will remain part of the national team.
Said Wong, who averaged 10.7 points a game last season: "It has been a tough journey for me to juggle both work and playing professional basketball.
"We often train twice a day and have up to 10 sessions a week with the Slingers. The only time for me to catch up with my work is during noon time.
"But, for now, I have decided to put all my focus on Scholar Basketball Academy to build a foundation, tradition and legacy.
"I'm planning to travel to more countries with my trainers and learn more basketball-related matters from experts around the world."
Along with Slingers skipper Desmond Oh, Wong was one of the pioneer members of the Singapore franchise that tipped off the inaugural ABL season in 2009, and has been an ever-present for the past seven seasons.
While the Slingers are still hunting for that elusive first ABL title, Wong picked up back-to-back ABL Local MVP awards in 2014 and 2015/16.
In seven seasons, he posted a total of 1,141 points.
Slingers coach Neo Beng Siang said: "Wei Long has been a big part of the Slingers and the national team in recent years.
"If he can concentrate on playing, he can still go on for another few years, but this is a decision he has made to focus on his business and we wish him well.
"We have signed Canadian-Filipino AJ Mandani to fill the gap and he's looking the part in terms of his ability to create penetrating moves. And we have a new 21-year-old local Lim Jun Yuan, who is defensively aggressive.
"When you have been part of the Slingers family, the door is always open for a return if you can make the commitment. We had Mitchell Folkoff come back last season and the same applies for Wei Long."
Aiming to at least make a third successive finals, the Slingers will tip off the upcoming season on Nov 17 at debutants Nanhai Long Lions' ground in China.
A record-high nine teams are taking part this season.
Wong believes his former team will have a good campaign despite the injury woes and National Service commitment of some players.
Oh, forwards Wu Qingde, Kelvin Lim and Ng Han Bin are all carrying knee injuries, while up-and-coming duo Delvin Goh and Leon Kwek are full-time national servicemen.
Folkoff has left the team and big American centre Justin Howard, the Defensive Player of the Year, has joined the Long Lions.
But, there are some good news in the form of swingman Xavier Alexander's contract extension, Russel Low's return, Lim's emergence and the smooth assimilation of imports Ryan Wright and Mandani.
Said Wong: "I'm open to the idea of playing for the Slingers or in other leagues in the future, and I will make sure I stay in top condition to compete and teach the trainees in my basketball academy."