Update (10/1/2017): The ABL has announced the Southern Chinese team’s entry, officially named the Nanhai Long Lions. It could either mean “South China Sea”, or perhaps a specific district of Foshan City where the team is expected to be based.
Defending champions Hong Kong Eastern Long Lions will revert their official team name for the upcoming ASEAN Basketball League to just Hong Kong Eastern to avoid confusion with the new incoming team from China.
The aforementioned Chinese basketball club is believed to be the developmental team of the Guangzhou Securities Long-lions from the premier Chinese Basketball Association (CBA), whom are no strangers to the ASEAN basketball scene themselves. We last saw them in action when they competed but failed to advance to the playoff rounds of the Seri Mutiara Cup in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia last month where they came in as the defending champions from 2016.
The Long-lions franchise was founded in 2000 and participated in the second-tier Chinese Basketball League (now Chinese NBL) before winning the championship and being promoted to the CBA. They have yet to win a playoff series since.
While team details of the new ABL club are sparse compared to what we know about other teams coming into the league this season, what is apparent is that they will be based in Foshan City where the Long-lions originally held home court before effectively transferring to the neighboring city of Guangzhou last year. It seems that the arrangement would be that their CBA team will still be based in Guangzhou City, while their ABL counterparts will take over their old homecourt in Foshan City.
It has been confirmed by sources that the official ABL team’s moniker will also be the Long-lions, thus prompting their ‘brother team’ from Hong Kong to drop the identical Chinese portmanteau that actually means Dragon-Lions.
Aside from reports saying they will sign their first heritage import in Filipino-American swingman Caelan Tiongson from Biola University in California, there is little information about the makeup of Foshan Long-lions’ roster for the ABL. We will post more information about the team as it is received.
Some fans also expressed concern over the odd arrangement of having two related teams in the league could lead to some complaints of match fixing, similar to conspiracy allegations in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) and to a much lesser degree, in the Thailand Basketball League (TBL).
Foshan will join the CLS Knights Surabaya, Mono Vampire, and Formosa Dreamers as the new clubs in addition to the defending champions Hong Kong Eastern, the Singapore Slingers, Alab Pilipinas, Saigon Heat, and Westports Malaysia Dragons when the new ABL season starts on November 17.