Former two-time league champions Hitech Basketball Club could potentially be rejoining the ASEAN Basketball League (ABL).
A source close to the situation has informed ASEAN Sports that the reigning Thailand Basketball Super League (TBSL) champions have contacted the league about their intention to make a return.
Earlier this year, a newly-formed team named Bangkok Storm had also submitted an application to join the league, with an intention to use the local core of the Hitech team. However, that has since fizzled out, and erstwhile team president and general manager Kevin Yurkus returned to Vietnam to coach the Saigon Heat.
If Hitech does make a comeback into the ABL, they would return with the distinction of being the only franchise in ABL history with two league championships, which they won back in 2011 and 2014 (first as the Chang Thailand Slammers, then later as Hitech Bangkok City).
Since departing after the 2015-16 season, the team has also won two domestic titles under head coach Chris Daleo, while also making numerous Thai league finals appearances against fellow domestic powerhouse and rival club Mono Vampire.
A return would also mean the revival of the ‘Bangkok derby’ between the two teams in the ABL. While Mono Vampire is based in suburban Nonthaburi, Hitech could possibly host home games at their former base at the Thai-Japanese Youth Arena, which is much closer to the city center of Bangkok.
Recently, the reigning Super Basketball League (SBL) champions Fubon Braves announced their entry into the ABL after leaving Chinese Taipei’s top professional league, confirming a second team from Taiwan apart from last year’s top regular season team the Formosa Dreamers.
With more fans clamoring for the addition of more Southeast Asian clubs, and with the CLS Knights Indonesia essentially on their way out of the league, a perennial championship contending franchise such as Hitech Basketball Club looks like the best possible addition to the ABL.
Follow us on Twitter at @aseansports1.