The FIBA Asia Champions Cup is making a return to Thailand for the upcoming 2019 edition this September.
After successfully hosting the club championships in Nonthaburi last year, the annual tournament is set to return to the Southeast Asian country for the second year in a row, with this year’s venue being at the Chulalongkorn University in the capital city of Bangkok.
Already through to the Final 8 are reigning champion teams from the ‘Big 3’ East Asian leagues as the Chinese Basketball Association (CBA), B.League Japan, and the Korean Basketball League (KBL) all have automatic berths to the tournament.
The back-to-back reigning Japanese titlists Alvark Tokyo will return to try and avenge their championship game defeat at the hands of Petrochimi Bandar Imam BC of Iran last year, while nine-time Chinese league champions Guangdong Southern Tigers make their first return to the tournament since winning the Bronze in 1996.
Meanwhile, Ulsan Hyundai Mobis Phoebus, with seven KBL Championships to their name, will look to bring the trophy back home to South Korea since winning it 27 years ago, back when the tournament was still known as the Asian Basketball Club (ABC) Championships.
Apart from East Asia’s ‘Big Three’ professional leagues, the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) is the only other Asian league to be granted an automatic berth to the Final 8, and while the Philippines has been one of the most active countries in FIBA competitions, they have yet to be represented by reigning professional league titlists in the past 28 editions of the Champions Cup.
While the San Miguel Beermen won the past two PBA conferences and are the de facto representatives, it still remains to be seen whether or not they will step up to the plate.
Also joining the roster of teams are two champion clubs who most recently qualified for the tournament after finishing as the two best squads at the East Inter-Sub Zone qualifiers, also held in Bangkok: Hitech Basketball Club of the Thailand Basketball League (TBL), and the Fubon Braves from Chinese Taipei’s Super Basketball League (SBL).
Meanwhile, on the other side of the continent, two more teams from the Gulf and West Asia subzones will complete the cast of eight.
The 2019 FIBA Asia Champions Cup will be held at the Chulalongkorn University Sports Complex in Bangkok, Thailand on September 24-29.
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