The arrival of the FIBA Intercontinental Cup on Singapore’s shores in the next three years spells much excitement for Asian hoops fans, but what exactly will it bring? Get ready to snap up your tickets on 19 July for a clash of styles and a glimpse into the future of basketball, as a new wave of young international stars show up and show out for their respective squads!
The FIBA Intercontinental Cup will take place from 21 to 24 September this year in Singapore, with five different continents being represented by six top-tier professional teams. The sheer variety of the teams involved will likely make for compelling viewing; after all, as avid hoop heads would attest to, each continent and even each nation conjures up different schemas and stereotypes in terms of playing style, making for a fascinating juxtaposition whenever these styles clash on the court. Here’s a brief rundown of the teams involved, and how they like to execute their game:
For even the most casual basketball fans, the North American representative should be extremely familiar. The NBA G League Ignite squad was set up to focus on the growth of rising starlets, providing them an alternative route to collegiate basketball and other international leagues, and has produced a number of young NBA stars just three years after the team was born. The trademark American athleticism and isolation-heavy style of play will certainly be present, with international flavours mixed in as well, given that Ignite has begun to attract a host of top international talent, such as Izan Almansa (Spain) and Thierry Darlan (Central African Republic).
FIBA’s own Basketball Champions League (BCL) will be sending two reigning champions as representatives, with Telekom Baskets Bonn from Germany having won the European edition of the tournament, and Brazilian powerhouses Sesi Franca clinching the BCL Americas competition. Perennial also-rans Bonn has ascended to a place among European elites by playing an aggressive, fast game on both offense and defense, confounding offenses with their length before attacking the basket from on drives and from beyond the arc, in sharp contrast to the stereotypical German game with its fundamentals and almost-boring focus on efficiency. Sesi Franca fits the same mould with their energetic game, but relies on a fair bit of muscle down on the blocks, as opposed to merely the trademark South American craftiness out on the perimeter.
The aforementioned BAL was jointly established by the NBA and FIBA, and has generated a lot of excitement in its first few seasons. Al Ahly of Egypt will get the chance to test their skills against top-notch competitors from other continents, after taking home the BAL championship trophy for their nation. Although the African continent is widely-regarded as one of the most promising for its abundance of athletic talents and size, Al Ahly goes to battle with a balanced squad of experienced, savvy veterans, who supplement their physical tools with a lot of know-how as well.
Last but not least, the Asian continent is represented by two different teams for the first edition of the FIBA Intercontinental on Asian shores, with Al Manama of Bahrain representing West Asia as the West Asia Super League champions and Chinese Basketball Association (CBA) runners-up Zhejiang Golden Bulls representing East Asia. The Bahraini side is tough on defense and physical on both ends of the floor, as befits the West Asian reputation. On the other hand, while the Chinese team is expectedly fundamentally sound and blessed with height, they also play an unexpected volume of one-on-one basketball. This is led primarily by their exciting backcourt duo, who are both hoping to represent Team China at the upcoming FIBA World Cup.
With such an array of playing styles, the FIBA Intercontinental Cup promises to be a treat for anyone in attendance. Do grab your tickets when they go on sale (19 July), via the Singapore Sports Hub and SISTIC websites!