SINGAPORE — The stage is set for the 33rd edition of the FIBA Intercontinental Cup to be held from Sep 21 to Sep 24 in Singapore, with the six participating teams drawn into two groups of three each. Sesi Franca (BCLA champion), Team Ignite (NBA G League) and Al Ahly (BAL winner) will be in Group A while Zhejiang Golden Bulls (CBA representative), Al Manama (WASL champion) and Telekom Baskets Bonn (BCL winner) in Group B.
The group stage will be played in a round robin format in the first three days of competition. The final day of the tournament on Sep 24 will see the top teams from both groups battling for the championship, with the 3rd and 5th place classification match to be held earlier in the day. All matches will be played at the Singapore Indoor Stadium, Singapore Sports Hub.
International stars Vlade Divac of Serbia, Chinese great Yi Jianlian and Ian Mahinmi of France participated in the draw which took place at the Art Science Museum at the end of June. The trio who are in town to promote the FIBA Intercontinental Cup, also conducted a clinic for ActiveSG Basketball Academy.
Before the draw the basketball stars were join by Toh Boon Yi, Sport Singapore Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Yazed Osman, Group Head of Events & Placemaking at Singapore Sports Hub, and Patrick Comninos, Chief Executive Officer of the Basketball Champions League, on a panel discussion on the growth of basketball in Asia and the global cultural phenomenon it has become.
“The Singapore Sports Hub has staged many unforgettable events, and we are honoured to be the first-ever venue in Asia to host this distinctive competition for the next three years, from 2023 – 2025. Basketball is an exciting sport that speaks to a wide audience and equally appealing is the iconic hoop culture. Basketball fans coming to Singapore can expect homages to all these and more,” said Yazed.
This is the first time that an Asian country is hosting the competition. A change in format will expand the tournament to six teams, among which are two representatives from Asia: the Zhejiang Golden Bulls from China and Al Manama from Bahrain.
Zhejiang were top of the Chinese League Association league table in the regular season but lost to Liaoning Flying Leopards in the playoff final. Al Manama is a dominant team in Bahrain with a record 24 championship title wins in the Bahraini Premier League. Manama defeated Kuwait Club 67-59 to win this year’s West Asian Super League.
Zhejiang finished at the top of the Chinese Basketball Association league table during the regular season. However, they were defeated by the Liaoning Flying Leopards in the playoff final. Al Manama is a powerhouse team in Bahrain, having won a record 24 championship titles in the Bahraini Premier League. In this year’s West Asian Super League, Manama secured the title by defeating Kuwait Club 67-59 in the finals.
“This edition of the FIBA Intercontinental Cup marks a new era for this esteemed tournament that already has a long and rich history. With six clubs participating for the first time and a fresh format, we are pleased to host this edition in Singapore and look forward to expanding and including more clubs in future editions,” expressed FIBA Secretary General Zagklis.
This will be Brazilian club Sesi Franca’s sixth appearance in the tournament, having been runners-up in 1975 and 1980. Their last participation was in 1981 when they lost the third-place match against the Clemson Tigers from the USA. German club Bonn qualified for the 2023 FIBA Intercontinental Cup as winners of the European Basketball Champions League, defeating Israeli club Hapoel Jerusalem 77-70 in the finals.
Unlike previous competitions where the champions of the NBA G League were selected for the FIBA Intercontinental Cup, this year saw Team Ignite being selected to represent the league. Ignite is a developmental squad in the NBA G League, and they finished the 2022-2023 regular season in 11th position in the Western Conference standings.
Unlike in previous competitions, where the champions of the NBA G League were chosen to participate in the FIBA Intercontinental Cup, Team Ignite has been selected as this year’s representative. Ignite, a developmental squad in the NBA G League, ended the 2022-2023 regular season in 11th position in the Western Conference standings.
“We are pleased to showcase once again Singapore’s ability to host top class sport events. Having the FIBA Intercontinental Cup on our shores is a testament to Singapore’s exceptional event-planning expertise, as well as the opportunity to showcase our city as a travel destination. The FIBA Intercontinental Cup will not only demonstrate our dedication in promoting the sport, but also strengthen Singapore’s position as a flourishing hub for hosting international sporting events,” shared the Deputy CEO of Sport Singapore.
The 32nd edition of the FIBA Intercontinental Cup was held earlier in the year in February in Spain with Lenovo Tenerife picking up their third championship. The tournament saw four teams Tenerife (Spain), Rio Grande Valley Vipers (USA), Sao Paulo (Brazil, and Monastir from Tunisia competing in a knock-out format. Tenerife outclassed Monastir 112-42 in the semi-finals and won 89-68 against Sao Paulo in the finals.
Tickets for the FIBA Intercontinental Cup 2023 games will go on sale on Jul 19, with ticket prices starting from $10. Fans can register their interest on the Singapore Sports Hub website.