Hong Kong Eastern have been one of the fastest rising basketball clubs in the past decade. They
quickly shot of from being promoted to the Hong Kong A1 Division Championship in 2016,
which is the same year they became a fully professional team.
Of course, that was also their first season playing in the ASEAN Basketball League and they
didn’t waste any time in making their presence felt. Right in their debut season, Hong Kong
Eastern went straight to winning the title after securing a league best record.
Hong Kong Eastern continued to be among one of the top teams in the competition with two
more trips to the Semi-Finals of the Playoffs.
Then, as everyone knows, everything came to a halt.
“The pandemic has been one of the most difficult hurdles for the franchise,” stated Hong Kong
Eastern. “With the pandemic being such an unknown, Hong Kong has been one of the cities hit
hardest with restrictions. Our most recent season [in the local league] was delayed and
postponed by the pandemic, causing it to take nearly two years just to complete the season
which disrupted the tempo and team rhythm.”
The situation hit a pause button on basketball in most of the region, which kept Hong Kong
Eastern from the unique experiences of playing in international competitions like the ABL that
they have longed for for such a long time.
“We miss playing against some of the top teams in the region with their respective fans in
attendance to spice up the atmosphere,” the team said.
That feeling will be long gone when the calendar turns to 2023 as Hong Kong Eastern will
actually be one of the first two teams to tip off the 2023 ABL Invitational in Singapore when
they play Cooly Bangkok Tigers on 2 January at 6:00 PM GMT +8. Coincidentally, this game – and
the entire first series of the ABL Invitational which will be held from 2-8 January – will be played
at OCBC Arena where Hong Kong Eastern won their first ABL title in 2017.
“It’s very exciting to be competing in the ABL Invitational. We are also very eager to see where
we stand against the other teams after these turbulent times.”
Aside from the glories of victory and triumph playing in these games, Hong Kong Eastern also
sees value and prides themselves in using the competition as a platform to develop their local
talents. Playing in the ABL setting has allowed players like Lee Ki, Chan Siu Wing, and Ricky
Yang, all of whom are national team regulars, to go up against high-level competition which in
turn allows them to continuously improve their game.
Eastern hopes that the next wave of talents can keep on coming through.
“The ABL Invitational will give us another platform to help develop our players and to expose
them to higher levels of competition. Some local players have never had the experience to
travel abroad for competition so this gives them a great opportunity to broaden their horizon in
being a professional player.”
Expectations will always be high for a team like Eastern who were quick to achieve success in
the ABL setting and they know that. There will obviously be changes as it’s been such a long
time, but they want to assure the fans that Hong Kong Eastern will be a team worth keeping an
“The team will be under the guidance of a new coach since our last appearance in the ABL but
we hope to bring the same exciting brand of Eastern Basketball to the ABL Invitational.”
In the end, they just want to put on a show for the basketball fans that will be watching their
upcoming games which includes:
vs. Cooly Bangkok Tigers – 2 January 2023 at 6:00 PM GMT +8
vs. Macau Black Bears – 5 January 2023 at 6:00 PM GMT +8
vs. Singapore Slinvers – 7 January 2023 at 8:00 PM GMT +8
vs. Louvre Indonesia – 8 January 2023 at 4:00 PM GMT +8
“We hope that the fans are able to come out and enjoy the matches. It has been a long time
and we hope to put on a show for the fans, too.”