Bintulu first on National Basketball League circuit
BINTULU: The National Basketball League (NBL) season will be from July 10 to August 2 and Bintulu has been chosen to be the first circuit of the championship.
Six foreign players from North America, Africa, Europe and Oceania will join the four NBL teams in this year’s league which is sponsored by Telekom Malaysia.
The teams are Malacca Chin Woo, Segamat Basketball Association, Perak Farmcochem and Bintulu Rainbow.
Selangor SM Land, who finished fourth last year, have pulled out.
The other four circuits apart from Bintulu (Bintulu Indoor Stadium, July 10-12) are Penang (Han Chiang Indoor Stadium, July 17-19), Johor (Segamat Indoor Stadium, July 24-26) and Kuala Lumpur (MABA Stadium, August 1-2).
The four teams will have to complete three rounds during the regular seasons. The team finishing first in the regular season will face the fourth seeds in the semi-finals, and the second seeds will face the third seeds in another semi-final.
The best players and top scorer of each week will be selected during the regular season.
This year’s season allows each team to have two foreign players. Teams draft their respective imports from a pool of 35 players prepared by the NBL office.
Bintulu Rainbow, who finished last last year, drafted two-time NBL Regular Season MVP Chris Kuete from Cameroon as their first overall pick and Kenny Harris from the US as their eighth overall pick.
Segamat Basketball Association have chosen Amani Daanish from the US.
Last season’s runners-up Perak Farmcochem signed Gareth Murray from Scotland and Raymond Canady Jr from the US.
Murray is a Scotland national team player while Canady has been invited to participate in the Las Vegas Summer League which is organised by the NBA’s Indiana Pacers.
Defending champions Malacca Chin Woo have decided to recruit former Australian national player Benjamin Knight. He was a member of the NBL selection team in the 2008 SEABA Champion Cup in Jakarta.
In conjunction with the NBL 2009, there will be a carnival to promote it at various venues starting with Ipoh and Seberang Prai, Penang on June 27 and 28 followed by Miri on July 4 and 5. Next up wiil be a visit to Kulai, Johor on July 11 and 12.
The following week, the carnival stops at Kuala Lumpur (July 18 and 19) and ends at Seremban on July 25 and 26.
The public will have the opportunity to win goodies worth RM300 through various activities.
NBL tickets are available during the carnival. The NBL gallery will be another attraction for fans to get to know more about the league.
Besides Telekom Malaysia, the NBL is also supported by Petronas as co-sponsor and Molten as the official ball. 98.8 FM will be the official radio for this tournament which is sanctioned by Malaysian Basketball Association (MABA).