The San Miguel name will make a return to the ASEAN Basketball League, though it won’t exactly be the same franchise that won the league championship in 2013.
Instead, they will be the new Alab Pilipinas title sponsor midway through the season, replacing Tanduay, as the liquor brand has reportedly pulled out their sponsorship of the Philippine club team amidst disagreements between the two sides, as confirmed by team owner Charlie Dy through a message.
“We’re very happy that SMB welcomed us with open arms. When they found out we were being abandoned, they wholeheartedly supported us as they believe in our vision,” said Dy. “They didn’t want us to disappoint our supporters nationwide and all over the world who watches us live (at the venues), on livestream, and also on TFC (The Filipino Channel).”
Dy also confirmed the new official team name will be San Miguel Alab Pilipinas.
The San Miguel Beermen won the 2013 ABL Championship over the Indonesia Warriors behind the solid efforts of league MVP Asi Taulava and Finals MVP Chris Banchero, avenging their defeat to the same club one season prior.
Coincidentally, current Alab Pilipinas world imports Justin Brownlee and Renaldo Balkman have both played for the San Miguel conglomerate under different franchises in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA). Brownlee is considered the current resident import for the crowd-favorite Barangay Ginebra Kings, while Balkman once played for the Petron/San Miguel Beer franchise.
San Miguel Alab Pilipinas will go back on the road as they play the Singapore Slingers for the fourth and final time in the regular season on February 4 at the OCBC Arena in Singapore.