PBA holds off on East Asia Super League stint
MANILA, Philippines—For the past two years, the PBA has been well represented in the East Asia Super League sending several teams to the continental meet to compete with the region’s best clubs.
With the EASL looking to stage an eight-team competition in 2021, CEO Matt Beyer is once again looking to get a hold of PBA teams to join the event but league commissioner Willie Marcial said his clubs will join once the COVID-19 situation gradually improves.
Marcial said he and the PBA Board of Governors are still holding off on the decision on whether to join the EASL, which last year got the backing of the world governing body in a 10-year deal, and will depend on the vaccination of the teams.
“About the EASL, I met with the governors and we talked about it and we decided to wait for the vaccine,” said Marcial in Filipino Thursday during a virtual press conference. “I’ve talked to Matt and I told him what the governors and I talked about.”
“We’re holding our decision for now to join the EASL until the players and teams are vaccinated. We’re not closing our doors to the EASL, once the players are vaccinated then we’ll talk to the EASL again.”
In a statement, EASL said it respects the PBA’s decision to pause its participation.
— East Asia Super League (@EASLofficial) January 28, 2021
“The EASL supports Philippines battles against the virus and looks forward to continuing in good faith discussions with the PBA.”
The PBA has struck a partnership with the Philippine Red Cross wherein for every vaccine dose the league purchases, they have to donate one to charity.
Marcial said that the Philippine Red Cross has both Moderna and AstraZeneca brands.
“I will write to the Red Cross that we will purchase an ‘x’ amount of vaccines,” said Marcial.
NLEX and Blackwater were the first two teams that joined the EASL during the Summer Super 8 in Macau.
In the 2019 Terrific 12, league heavyweights San Miguel and TNT joined the Elite in the tournament that was also held in the Chinese special administrative region.
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