TNT, SMB to EASL as Manila hosts Final Four

After surviving their respective semifinals series, TNT and San Miguel Beer got the bonus of representing the country in the inaugural season of the East Asia Super League which will begin Oct. 19.

SMB and TNT will be the Philippine representatives to EASL's inaugural home-and-away season (PBA Images)

The flagship franchises of two of the biggest corporations in the PBA will get the benefit to enlist two imports for the tournament as they face some of the best teams in the region. The grouping of both teams however will be determined at the end of their best-of-seven finals series.

Champion of the all-Filipino conference will take on Anyang KGC of the Korean Basketball League (KBL), Japan B.League’s Ryukyu Golden Kings, and newly-crowned P. League+ champs Taipei Fubon Braves.

The bridesmaid finishers, meanwhile, are reigning titlist Seoul SK Knights, B.League champion Utsonomiya Brex, and another Greater China representative Bay Area Dragons.

The PH Cup champions will make their EASL debut on the road against Anyang in Korea while the runner-up will play as host to Bay Area in the double-header of the opening day.

Meanwhile, Manila is also set to host the Final Four showdown of the tournament in March next year. EASL announced the choice of the host city of the three-day event which will serve as fitting finale to the series of the inaugural home-and-away season.

The Final Four tips off on March 3 featuring two semifinals games, a music festival on March 4, and finally, the Finals on March 5.

"We couldn't ask for a better city to host the first EASL Final Four. I would like to thank the local government authorities, our colleagues at the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA), and the Filipino fans for welcoming us. The Final Four weekend will be unique and memorable, bigger than any event EASL has ever held, featuring a music festival and a variety of fan activities," said EASL CEO Matt Beyer.

“The decision to stage the inaugural EASL Final Four in Manila this March is a welcome development. The Philippines is a basketball-loving country and Filipino fans will be following the EASL games closely,” said PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial.

"Hosting the Final Four would be an exciting prelude to the FIBA World Cup as our country opens its doors to the global basketball community next year," he added.