EASL gets 10-year Fiba support for annual regional league | Inquirer Sports
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EASL gets 10-year Fiba support for annual regional league

By: - Reporter / @BLozadaINQ
/ 07:46 PM August 20, 2020

FILE PHOTO– East Asia Super League 2019. TRISTAN TAMAYO/INQUIRER.net

MANILA, Philippines—The East Asia Super League had planned a tournament in the style of the UEFA European Cup back in 2018 and this time, the international competition is finally getting recognition.

Fiba and the EASL inked a 10-year agreement that would grant the latter the support to run an annual league for the top professional clubs in East Asia and the Philippines, basketball’s governing body announced Thursday.

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EASL will launch its first tournament in October 2021, a month after the Fiba Asia Champions Cup, and will have eight of the region’s top teams competing in a home-and-away group stage culminating in a Final Four format in February of 2022 for the championship and the third-place finish.

The second tournament, which will be for the 2022-23 season, will still have eight teams but EASL plans to expland to 16 teams by 2023 with its games integrated into the schedules of the participating professional leagues.

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“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,” said FIBA Executive Director 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 CEO Matt Beyer said back in 2018 that he envisions his tournament to be the Asian basketball equivalent of the UEFA Champions League where the top leagues in Europe compete to become determine the best club in the continent.

Past editions of the EASL saw teams from the PBA, Japan’s B.League, Korea’s KBL, ASEAN Basketball League, Taiwan’s SBL, and China’s CBA compete but it was only in 2019 that San Miguel and TNT—the two mother teams of the San Miguel and MVP groups in the PBA—joined.

“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,” said Beyer.

“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 2 billion people, which will contribute to Fiba’s global club championship ambitions.”

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