Basketball: Merlion Cup returns for a second year with six teams competing

Shanghai Sharks players trying to stop Singapore Slingers’ swingman Xavier Alexander (No. 15) during the Merlion Cup Group A match in 2016.
Shanghai Sharks players trying to stop Singapore Slingers’ swingman Xavier Alexander (No. 15) during the Merlion Cup Group A match in 2016.PHOTO: THE NEW PAPER

SINGAPORE - The Basketball Association of Singapore (BAS) has announced the return of the Merlion Cup competition on Wednesday. The six-team tournament, which returned last year after a 20-year hiatus, will see four new teams take part.

Korea's Jeonju KCC Egis, Philippines' Alab Pilipinas and Taiwan's Yulon Luxgen Dinos will join the Singapore Slingers as well as defending champions the Shanghai Sharks in this year's edition. The competition will also see an Australian team for the first time since its return, with the Adelaide 36ers slated for participation.

With last year's Merlion Cup final between the Sharks and Philippine's Mighty Sports played in front of a sell-out crowd at the OCBC Arena, BAS president David Ong is hoping for a similarly strong turnout.

Said Ong: "Last year's Merlion Cup saw strong fan support, with more than 8,800 fans attending over the five days. This year our goal is the same, to promote basketball across all ages and fill up the stadium."

In addition to the tournament, a host of activities are also in the works, including coaching clinics by the visiting teams, as well as Meet-and-Greet sessions for fans to interact with the players.

The build-up activities will culminate in a one-day Basketball Festival on Sept 17 at OCBC Square.

The 2017 Merlion Cup will be held from Sept 20-24, with ticket prices starting at $18 for weekday games and $25 for weekends. A special seasonal pass will also be available which provides entry for all five days of competition. More details on ticket sales will be released over the coming days.