Merlion Cup makes a comeback
Basketball fans in Singapore will be treated to quality hoops action with the return of the Merlion Cup.
Scheduled for Sept 21-25, the tournament will be making its return after 20 years. It will also be a booster to the Asean Basketball League (ABL) which starts in November.
The economic downturn in 1996 caused the Merlion Cup's demise.
"Since 1996, the tournament has been kept in incubation, until now," said David Ong, president of the Basketball Association of Singapore.
"The interest and passion for basketball has grown and therefore we feel that now would be the best time to bring it back.
"We plan to make this an annual tournament, and building on it we plan to make this a bigger one in the coming years."
The competition will feature six professional teams, with the Singapore Slingers pitted against Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor and the Shanghai Sharks in Group A while Seoul Samsung Thunder, the Philippines' Mighty Sports and ABL Champions Westports Malaysia Dragons are in Group B.
The Slingers are scheduled to take on Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor in the curtain-raiser.
Former Houston Rockets centre Yao Ming, who owns the Shanghai Sharks, will also be present to watch his team.
Meanwhile, ex-NBA player Alford Thornton will star for Mighty Sports.
Players will also be conducting basketball clinics to give the public a chance to learn from the best in Asia.
Ong also expressed interest in spreading the tournament to teams outside of Asia.
"If we do it right, we will be able to attract the bigger teams from America, Russia and Europe to participate," he said.
Tickets for the event are available online at www.sportshubtix.sg.