MANILA, Philippines – San Miguel Alab Pilipinas has asked the ASEAN Basketball League to suspend operations amid the worsening COVID-19 pandemic, per a statement by team owner Charlie Dy on Thursday, March 12.
Alab is joined by 3 Chinese teams, namely Hong Kong Eastern, Formosa Dreamers of Taiwan and the Macau Black Bears, in asking the league to stand down amid the global health crisis.
“With the World Health Organization declaring COVID-19 as a pandemic, Alab Pilipinas wishes to put the safety of our fans and our team first,” the statement read.
“Since the ABL is a regional league and travel will be difficult and risky, Alab Pilipinas together with Hong Kong Eastern, Macau Black Bears, and Formosa Dreamers deem it appropriate to request the ABL to follow the NBA and other sporting leagues in suspending our season.”
Macau, Hong Kong and Formosa have all posted similarly-worded statements on their Facebook pages.
The Philippine team has not played a game since February 23 as the league underwent a ravaging chain of postponements for multiple teams involved due to the COVID scare.
However, some teams have continued to play amid the health crisis including the Singapore Slingers, whose import reportedly boarded a plane with a COVID-positive individual. (READ: ABL import quarantined due to coronavirus scare)
Incidentally, they played the league’s most recent game last March 6.
“Alab Pilipinas believes that our fans and supporters will understand this move as it is for the best interest of everyone to take precaution,” Dy’s statement continued.
“Many experts have shared that social distancing is the best way to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and we wish to take part of this solution.”
As of posting, the league is scheduled to resume on March 20, with Alab returning on March 22 against Formosa at the Sta. Rosa Sports Complex in Laguna. – Rappler.com