East Asia Super League bestowed long-term FIBA blessing

terrence romeo easl
San Miguel Beer's Terrence Romeo during the 2019 EASL Terrific 12. (EASL)

The East Asia Super League received the full support of world governing body FIBA after reaching a 10-year agreement to hold a home-and-away tournament featuring teams from the PBA and East Asia.

FIBA made the announcement on Thursday, adding that the EASL will have eight teams competing for the next two seasons beginning in 2021, before expanding to a 16-team tourney in 2023.

The EASL will start in Oct. 2021, a month after the FIBA Asia Champions Cup, with the Final Four and championship game set every February.

“The recognition of the East Asia Super League is based on a shown commitment to developing basketball in the region, and is in line with FIBA’s club competition strategy that is to shape international club competitions,” said FIBA secretary general Andreas Zagklis.

“EASL has demonstrated a great operational capability to organize a high-level competition for top clubs, and a strong commitment to elevate the sport of basketball in East Asia within the FIBA regulatory framework for leagues,” added FIBA executive director for Asia Hagop Khajirian. 

“We are delighted to grant long-term recognition and support to the EASL as the exclusive platform of its kind in East Asia.”

EASL chief executive officer Matt Beyer, whose league had staged the Super 8 and Terrific 12 competitions in Macau over the past two years, is hoping that the FIBA recognition will help the league grow.

“EASL is thrilled to receive FIBA’s support for the launch of our league. With top teams from the Greater China region, Japan, Korea, and the Philippines, we are confident it will become one of the top professional basketball competitions in the world by 2025. 

“We also look forward to aligning with FIBA’s vision to strengthen domestic clubs and league competition in East Asia with a potential fan base of over two billion people, which will contribute to FIBA’s global club championship ambitions,” he added.

NLEX and Blackwater took part in the Super 8 tourney in 2018 before San Miguel Beer, TNT KaTropa and Blackwater joined last year’s Terrific 12, also in Macau.

NLEX and San Miguel finished fourth in both tournaments.