San Miguel, TNT, Blackwater join Asia league
Three PBA teams will battle it out with clubs from the Korean Basketball League, Chinese Basketball League and the B-League of Japan in the East Asia League Terrific 12 from Sept. 17 to 22 in Macau.
Reigning Philippine Cup champion San Miguel Beermen, Commissioner’s Cup leader TNT Ka Tropa and Blackwater Elite have all confirmed their participation in the five-day tournament that dangles a $150,000 prize for the champion.
The three PBA clubs’ participation marks a successful campaign by Asia League CEO Matt Beyer, who worked tirelessly behind the scenes over the past year to convince the league to send some of their top teams
and test them against some of the best clubs in the continent.
“We started a dialogue with the PBA with commissioner Willie Marcial and I think we can cut a long-term deal,” said Beyer, who invited Blackwater and NLEX to the Summer Super 8 tournament in June last year.
The tournament, which will allow two foreign reinforcements for each team, will not only see some of the best teams from the KBL, CBA and B-League, but their biggest stars, too.
The CBA will be represented by their 2017-2018 season champion Liaoning Flying Leopards, Shenzhen Aviators and Zhejiang Guangsha Lions. Chinese national team star Guo Ailun plays for the Flying Leopards.
Defending champion Ryukyu Golden Kings are one of the four teams from Japan, which will also be represented by Utsunomiya Brex of former NBA player Yuta Tabuse and national team star Makoto Heijima.
The Chiba Jets, led by B-League MVP Yuki Togashi, will also be in action together with Niigata Aibirex.
The two Korean teams include Jeonju KCC Egis and Seoul SK Knights, who ruled the KBL two seasons ago.
Blackwater has been bunched with Chiba and Seoul SK Knights, while the Beermen will have Ryukyu and Shenzhen with them in Group B. TNT landed in Group D with Liaoning and Niigata, while Group C has Jeonju,
Utsunomiya and Zhejiang Guangsha Lions.
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