East Asia Super League

EASL playoffs start in Cebu with no PBA teams as Asian neighbors assert dominance

JR Isaga

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EASL playoffs start in Cebu with no PBA teams as Asian neighbors assert dominance

TOUGH NIGHT. Meralco's Anjo Caram in action against the Seoul SK Knights in the EASL.

EASL

The Philippines bows out of the East Asia Super League with a Meralco loss as both PBA representatives, the Bolts and the TNT Tropang Giga, lag at last place behind superior Asian teams

MANILA, Philippines – Host Philippines will have no representatives on its home turf when the East Asia Super League (EASL) playoffs roll off on March 8 to 10 at the Hoops Dome in Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu.

The league’s first home-and-away season, featuring the region’s best teams, culminates with both PBA squads TNT and Meralco serving as mere bottom-feeders against superior talent from the Japan B. League, Taiwan P.League+, and Korean Basketball League.

Sitting at last place in Groups A and B with a pair of 1-5 records, both the Tropang Giga and the Bolts got ran ragged right out of the gate with multiple double-digit losses and never really got any sort of momentum, especially with the fledgling league only holding games once every two weeks.

Even fellow cellar-dweller Taipei Fubon Braves, who also hold a 1-5 record, got their only win at TNT’s expense, 106-97, on November 15, 2023, before the Tropang Giga exacted revenge for their lone victory, 80-69, on December 20, 2023.

The Philippines wrapped up its EASL campaign late Wednesday, February 7, with Meralco falling to the Seoul SK Knights, 72-62, as the Bolts played minus Chris Newsome and six other key players.

Now set to grace the hoops hotbed of Cebu this March are the B. League’s undefeated representatives Chiba Jets (6-0), facing former NBA star Jeremy Lin and the New Taipei Kings (4-2) in the knockout semifinal.

Meanwhile, an all-Korea derby is slated in the other bracket as Gilas Pilipinas high-flyer Rhenz Abando and the Anyang Jung Kwan Jang Red Boosters (4-2) take on well-traveled Filipino import Juan Gomez de Liaño and the Seoul SK Knights (4-2).

This year’s Final Four champion nets $1 million, the runner-up earns $500,000, and the third-place team $250,000. – Rappler.com

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