Jun 28, 2022

EASL: PBA Philippine Cup champion, runner-up face tough challenge

THE champion of the PBA Philippine Cup is bracketed with the newly-crowned PLeague+ champ Taipei Fubon Braves in the inaugural home-and-away season of the East Asia Super League in October.

The two teams landed in Group A together with Korean Basketball League (KBL) runner-up Anyang KGC and Japan B. League counterpart Ryukyu Golden Kings during the official drawing of lots held Tuesday at Shangri-La The Fort.

Group B meanwhile, is composed of KBL champion Seoul SK Knights, Japan B. League title holder Utsonomiya Brex, Bay Area Dragons representing Greater China, and the runner up of the Philippine Cup.

PBA commissioner Willie Marcial attended the hour-long event along with KBL commissioner Kim Hee Ok, B. League chairman Shinji Shimada, and Francesco Berre, the strength and conditioning coach of the Dragons.

NBA great Metta World Peace graced the affair as special guest, being one of the EASL ambassadors.

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EASL CEO and co-founder Matt Beyer presided over the drawing of lots.

"Come Oct. 12 the dream is over, everything becomes a reality," said Beyer, the brainchild behind the formation of an Asian tournament featuring the champions of the different leagues around the region.

"Mabigat ang laban sa EASL," admitted Marcial, noting that all teams competing are champion in their right to be reinforced by two imports.

Members of the PBA Board were also around led by Alfrancis Chua of Barangay Ginebra, vice-chairman Bobby Rosales of Terrafirma, Eric Arejola of NorthPort, and Blackwater governor Siliman Sy along with team owner Dioceldo Sy.

Several PBA coaches and players showed up along with their counterparts from both the KBL and B. League.

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Tournament format will have the eight teams being divided into two groups of four, and will play a home-and-away games within its group or a total of six matches per team.

The top two teams in each group will advance to the semis, and two surviving clubs clash for the championship and the $1 million prize money. (RG)