PBA endorses Ginebra, TnT as PHL reps to East Asia League

 By Mark Angelo Mañez

PHOTO: SPIN PH/PBA Images

WHY not the two best teams in the PBA bubble as the league's official representative to the inaugural season of the East Asia Super League (EASL)?

Reigning Philippine Cup champion Barangay Ginebra and runner-up TnT Tropang Giga are the perfect embodiment of Asia's first ever play-for-pay league that both franchises are deserving of the two slots reserved for the Philippines during the kick-off meet set this October.

EASL Business Development Head Dioceldo Sy, also the Blackwater team owner, is looking forward to endorse the participation of both the Kings and Tropang Giga before the PBA Board.

"I will do the recommendation in behalf of the EASL," Sy curtly said on Tuesday.

Champion and runner-up teams in any of the three PBA conferences are primarily the ones to be invited for the regional league's first ever season.

With the league holding just the All-Filipino conference this year, Sy said both the Kings and Tropang Giga are deserving of the two slots for the PBA.

The PBA Board has initially tackled the league's planned participation following the presentation made by EASL CEO Matt Beyer during its final meeting for the year last Dec. 3.

No final decision has been made, but commissioner Willie Marcial said the Board could hold another meeting early in 2021 to discuss the matter. The schedule of the tournament and games to be played are among the factors being considered by the Board.

Other than the PBA, two top teams from South Korea, Japan, and China will see action in the home-and-away FIBA-sanctioned tournament that offers $1 million to the champion.

The format will have the eight teams being grouped into two. The top two teams in each group by the end of the eliminations will advance to the Final Four.

Runner-up team will receive $500,000, while third placer is guaranteed $250,000.

Participating teams will also receive a $20,000 appearance fee per game and another $20,000 bonus for each win.

TnT already had its taste of action in the EASL when it saw action in the 2019 edition along with San Miguel Beer and Blackwater.

The Beermen, who were a big hit in the tournament along with the Tropang Giga and the Elite, reached the semifinals, losing to eventual champion Liaoning Flying Leopards featuring former NBA player Lance Stephenson.


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