If you don’t know already, today is your lucky day to find out. Thailand’s other basketball league, the Thailand Basketball League (TBL) will be playing their season opener tomorrow! If you aren’t really sure what this is all about, I suggest you read about the fact that Thailand has two basketball leagues running side by side first. Then, I also suggest you to go read about the TPBL and why you should watch it as well.
After you finish all that, I suggest you read on along in this article to find out why you should watch the TBL as well!
Let’s dive right into it.
So. Many. Teams.
So. Many. Games.
There will be 10 teams in the TBL this season, which is exactly how much there were last year. Even with the loss of teams like Mono Vampire (now Mono Warriors), Black Scorpions (Mono Scorpions), and PEA. The new teams joining the fold will be Shoot It Dragons, Chaophraya Thunders, and MUBC.
Losing out on a 3-time champion like the Mono Vampire is a pretty large blow, as well as the potential of a young squad like PEA, but their replacements are not too shabby either. The Shoot It Dragons are expected to be fielding a team featuring two former national team players while the Thunders and MUBC might also be showcasing some promising prospects as well.
It has been well promoted by the league about the Import drafting system which aims to level the competitiveness in the league.
The draft limits teams to choose imports only from a league-approved player pool in an order according to the teams’ performances from the previous season. The better you were, the worse draft position you would be in, which is why Hitech as defending champions, picked last. These Import players were also subjected to a salary cap, meaning none of them could be offered for more than 3000 USD.
It’s certainly an interesting twist to the league and creates an intriguing angle for fans to follow even before the season starts.
Advancing to the FIBA Asia Champions Cup
In the previous three seasons, the champions of the TBL earn the opportunity to be Thailand’s representative at the FIBA Asia Champions Cup. The first two seasons’ quotas were secured by the Mono Vampire Basketball Club, while Hitech is expected to play in FIBA Asia Champions Cup 2019 by virtue of winning the most recent TBL.
With a trip at going to play among the best teams of Asia on the line, it’s easy to see why some teams put a lot of effort into attempting to win the TBL crown. After two seasons of watching Mono Vampire stand their ground against Asia’s finest clubs and potentially seeing Hitech do the same this year, it will be fun projecting who will win the TBL and who will make it to the FIBA Asia Champions Cup next year.
Return of the Nimibutr Stadium
The biggest catch for this year’s TBL, in my opinion, is the fact that the Finals will be played at Nimibutr Staduim right in the middle of Bangkok.
The last notable event that was played at the Nimibutr Stadium (if I recall correctly) was when the Thailand Tigers used the venue as their home ground in the ASEAN Basketball League. [Edited to add that the venue was used as home court for the SportsRev Thailand Slammers in 2013 as well]. It is a storied venue that has held many high-level competitions in the past, including youth national championships among others. When I was just a little boy playing in high school, I had the privilege to play in some early rounds of the Department of Physical Education (DPE) championship. I had always wondered what it would feel like to play in a championship game at Nimibutr and though I won’t be on the court, getting to watch a title game there should be quite an experience as well.