PBA teams face tough opposition in EASL

The finalists of the PBA Philippine Cup should expect heavy opposition from the neighboring leagues when the East Asia Super League (EASL) fires off on Oct. 12

PBA commissioner Willie Marcial, EASL ambassador and former NBA player Ron Artest a.k.a Metta World Peace, KBL commissioner Kim Hee Ok, and Japan B.League chairman Shinji Shimada (Noel B. Pabalate)

The all-Filipino Cup champion was drawn with Taiwanese titlists Taipei Fubon Braves along with Korea’s Anyang KGC and Japan’s Ryukyu Golden Kings in Group A during the inaugural grouping ceremony at the Shangri-La The Fort on Tuesday, June 28.

The PBA Philippine Cup runner-up, meanwhile, will face a daunting task after it was grouped with Japan B.League champion Utsunomiya Brex and KBL titlist Seoul SK Knights. along with the Bay Area Dragons led by Chinese national team member and 7-foot-5 center Liu Chuanxing. The Dragons are also set to play in the PBA as a guest team in the Commissioner's Cup.

The teams are allowed to tap the services of two reinforcements and are set to play in a home-and-away format in the group stage. The top two teams at the end of the elimination round will advance to the semifinals of the tournament, which is planned to be held in the country. The champion of the tournament will bag a $1 million top prize.

The ceremony was facilitated by EASL CEO Matt Beyer and was joined by PBA commissioner Willie Marcial, B.League chairman Shinji Shimada, and KBL commissioner Kim Hee-ok.

Also gracing the event was EASL Ambassador and former NBA player Meta World Peace.