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36ers invited to Cup series

UNABLE to attend last year due to date clashes with the NBL’s Australian Basketball Challenge – a.k.a. the PreSeason Blitz – the Adelaide 36ers again have been invited to contest the international Merlion Cup in Singapore in September.

The international tournament’s past winners include USSR Spartak, China’s national team (twice), Melbourne Tigers (1994) and last year the Yao Ming-owned Shanghai Sharks of the CBA claimed it.

NBL teams past and present such as the Tigers, Canberra Cannons, Gold Coast Cougars and Singapore Slingers have contested the Merlion Cup, which first launched in 1984 with China beating Spain’s Madrid Estudiantes by a point in a memorable inaugural final. 

The goal is to return the Cup to its "annual" status, after last year's series broke a 10-year hiatus.

US and European teams regularly participated, the 36ers excited at the prospect of facing varied international competition.

The Sixers are unsure whether the NBL will stage a preseason event ahead of the 2017-18 regular season but have been greenlit to accept the invitation.

New club owner Grant Kelley is headquartered in Singapore which means he potentially wouldn’t need a seven-hour flight home to see his team on the court live.

Meanwhile Adelaide coach Joey Wright (below) steadily is recovering from recent hip replacement surgery, optimistic his return to the dance floor is imminent. (Though that is most likely the Basketball Australia interpretation of the word “imminent”.)

THE NBL meanwhile still is reviewing preseason options, tournament-style, or other configurations.

May 30

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