East Asia Super League

Mission accomplished: ‘Tired’ Chiba completes perfect EASL title romp

Philip Matel

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Mission accomplished: ‘Tired’ Chiba completes perfect EASL title romp

MAIN MAN. Chiba Jets star Yuki Togashi in action against the Seoul SK Knights in the EASL finale.


Playing with a ‘huge goal,’ the Chiba Jets complete a perfect season as the Japanese basketball club narrowly escapes Korea’s Seoul SK Knights to bag the East Asia Super League crown

CEBU, Philippines – From mission statement to mission accomplished.

The last team to arrive in Cebu wound up first as Japan’s Chiba Jets captured the 2023-2024 East Asia Super League (EASL) championship on Sunday, March 10, at the Hoops Dome here.

“It was a huge goal of our team when we said we were going to play this EASL,” said Chiba head coach John Patrick, whose team arrived just the night before the Friday Final Four. 

“We were trying to win the whole thing. It’s a bold statement, but I think the players stuck to it even if we were really tired.” 

Behind the stellar clutch play of their playmaking guard Yuki Togashi, the Jets also took home the US $1 million prize after narrowly escaping Korea’s Seoul SK Knights, 72-69, in the knockout finale.

The thrilling win completed the Japanese club’s perfect season at 8-0.

“[It] starts with Yuki ignoring the tiredness… ignoring being a little sore, being injured, or whatever on the floor,” said Patrick, noting that the Jets even played a Japan B. League game Wednesday, just a day before their flight to the Philippines.

“That’s really amazing from a coaching standpoint,” he added. “I could say it now, to see how hard they pushed themselves and they did it, because it was a big goal for them.”

Togashi, the Japanese national team captain, finished with 22 points and 7 assists, including a three-pointer that permanently put his team up, 63-62, with 4:31 to play.

Seoul’s Jameel Warney, the league’s top scorer, missed the potential game-tying shot that would have sent the game to overtime. 

Warney, the Korean Basketball League Foreign MVP who averaged a shade over 37 points, was held to 22 on 9-of-25 shooting.

Seoul, which won $500,000, stayed within striking distance but could not overcome the narrow deficit after the Togashi triple.

“Playing in these Asian countries, including the national games, I didn’t really have these kinds of chants yet… including in the EASL,” Togashi said through an interpreter as the Final Four Most Valuable Player relished the MVP chants.

“Everywhere we’d go, we had a lot of supporters. A lot of cheers.” 

“Actually, it was really fun to play,” he said. “It’s not like what I did, it’s the environment. Everybody loves sports, basketball, everybody enjoyed it and that was really great for us.”

“It was really not only about myself but it was the whole atmosphere that created the whole environment,” Togashi added. 

Earlier, the Anyang Jung Kwan Jang Red Boosters, sans the injured Rhenz Abando, beat the New Taipei Kings to bring home the bronze, 64-57.

Anyang will head back to Korea with a $250,000 prize as well.

Park Jihoon fired 22 points on 9-of-11 shooting while Robert Carter, Jr. added 16.

On the losing side, Yang Chin-Min tossed in a team-high 13, while Joseph Lin, brother of NBA phenomenon Jeremy, had 5.

Jeremy Lin was a mere spectator as he continued to recover from a plantar fascia injury.

The Scores

First game 

Anyang 78 — Park 29, Carter 18, Jeong 11, Wilson 11, Bae 5, Choi 4, Jung 0, Kim 0, Lee 0.

New Taipei 76 — Manigault 18, Yang 15, Daye 15, Blankley 13, Davis 8, Lin 6, Lee 1, Wang 0, Su 0, Hung 0.

Quarters: 18-13, 44-33, 64-57, 78-76.

Second game

Chiba 72 — Togashi 24, Mooney 16, Brown 12, Cooks 6, Kanechika 5, Ogawa 5, Hara 4, Arao 0, Nishimura 0.

Seoul 69 — Warney 22, An 18, Williams 15, Oh 9, Chanyong 3, Choi 2, Heo 0, Yaung 0.

Quarters: 21-16, 37-34, 51-54, 72-69.

 – Rappler.com

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