Basketball: Singapore Slingers to face quality opponents in Sept's Merlion Cup

SINGAPORE - Last season's Asean Basketball League (ABL) runners-up Singapore Slingers will face some high-calibre opposition in this year's Merlion Cup when the five other professional foreign teams in the tournament were announced on Thursday (Jul 28).

Alongside the Slingers, Chinese team Shanghai Sharks - owned by former National Basketball Association star Yao Ming - Korean Basketball League outfit Seoul Samsung Thunders, Taiwan's Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor and Mighty Sports from the Philippines will all feature in the Sept 21-25 tournament at the OCBC Arena.

The Slingers will also face a familiar foe in ABL champions Westports Malaysia Dragons, who edged the Singapore side in the Finals series 3-2.

The draw, which has not been finalised, will see the six sides split into two groups and the top two teams from each group will advance to the semi-finals.

The Merlion Cup returns after a 20-year hiatus. It used to be held at the old Gay World Stadium in Geylang and was discontinued after its ninth edition in 1996.

The Basketball Association of Singapore's honorary secretary Ong Swee Teck said: "I'm very excited about this tournament and so are many people. Other than the ABL, you'll get to watch top professional clubs play in Singapore. We hope we can go back to the golden days of the Merlion Cup, where the fans enjoyed watching a very exciting and high-level tournament in Singapore."

In the build-up to the Merlion Cup, a 3-on-3 tournament will commence on Aug 21 and is open to the public. Winners of the men's and women's open, and the U-19 boys' and girls' category stand a chance to win Merlion Cup tickets and also a sponsored trip to Fiba Asia 2017.

The winning teams will also have the chance to represent Singapore and participate in a regional 3-on-3 tournament next year. To register, visit www.bas.org.sg/bas-times/register-for-merlion-cup-3x3