From 21 to 25 September 2016, basketball fans in Singapore will have a unique opportunity to witness some of Asia’s best at the OCBC Arena. The 6 participating teams - Yao Ming’s Shanghai Sharks, reigning ASEAN Basketball League (ABL) champions Westsports Malaysian Dragons, former Korean Basketball League champions Seoul Samsung Thunders, Taiwan’s Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor, Mighty Sports from the Philippines and our home-grown Singapore Slingers (current ABL runners-up) – will face-off in a series of exciting clashes that will take the sport in Singapore to the next level with the high calibre of players on display.
Singapore Slingers' Wong Wei Long, two-time Most Valuable Player of ASEAN Basketball League, is excited by the return of the Merlion Cup. Photo: SportSG
While the on court action will be a huge draw for fans, the variety of styles and level of talent competing in the Merlion Cup will provide invaluable experience for Team Singapore especially with the 2017 SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur fast approaching.
“It’s definitely going to be good exposure for all the Singaporean players to showcase what we have individually and also as a team,” noted Wong Wei Long, the Singapore Slingers’ celebrated point guard and two-time local Most Valuable Player of the ABL. Slingers assistant coach Michael Johnson backed up this view. ”The quality of teams coming in is excellent. Basketball is one of the highest participation sports in Singapore, so I think it’s a great thing [that at] any time we can get quality basketball events,” according to Johnson.
Slingers Assistant Coach Michael Johnson (partially blocked) believes the Merlion Cup is good exposure for his players. Photo: SportSG
To prepare for the tough competition ahead, the Slingers have been in intensive workouts since 12th September and will be training 10 times a week to sharpen their skills and teamwork before their first match against Taiwan’s Kinmen Kaoliang Liquor on 21 September.
The gruelling training regime however has not deterred Wong, along with seasoned teammates such as Desmond Oh, Leon Kwek, Ng Han Bin and Russel Low. Instead, the Slingers star is really excited by the Merlion Cup.
“Personally, I can’t wait for the tournament to begin. I’m especially looking forward to playing against the Seoul Samsung Thunders, who are known for their sharp shooting and speed,” said Wong. “I love a good challenge. I want to see what’s ahead of me. I want to see who’s out there playing. I have not seen the rosters yet, but I hope to compete against the best and know where I stand and see how much improvements I have to make,” added Wong.
Wei Long is looking forward to the game against
Seoul Samsung Thunders, who are reknowned for their sharp shooting and speed. Photo: SportSG
Personal challenges to prove himself against the best players aside, Wong harbours hope that his Slingers will be able to cause a few upsets against the high calibre opposition. “We have very good team chemistry, so hopefully it’s going to work well for us. We’ve seen all these players for ages and we’ve played a lot together since the first season of the ABL,” said Wong.
Come on down to the OCBC Arena to cheer on Wong Wei Long and his Singapore Slingers teammates. Be part of the iconic Merlion Cup, which will be held from 21 – 25 September. Tickets available from S$15 each day here.