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MANILA, Philippines – The East Asia Super League (EASL) quickly restructured its operations following the shocking disbandment of the Bay Area Dragons, tapping Taiwan P. League+ contender New Taipei Kings for its upcoming 2023-2024 season.
In a statement released on Tuesday, September 5, league CEO Matt Beyer referenced “conflict of interest issues” stemming from concurrently running the EASL and owning Bay Area, and announced that Dragons players and coaches will get “generous termination packages.”
“We thank the Bay Area Dragons and the Philippine Basketball Association, and its leadership, for an excellent season during their 2022-2023 campaign, which included reaching the PBA Commissioner’s Cup Finals Game 7, played in front of a record-breaking 55,000 people, and taking third place in the first season of EASL at EASL Champions Week,” Beyer said.
Prior to its sudden dissolution, Bay Area was supposed to return for another PBA stint in the upcoming 2023 Commissioner’s Cup. It remains to be seen what the PBA’s new plan will be.
For now, the New Taipei Kings will play solely for the EASL as its second representative from Taiwan’s P. League+ after the Taipei Fubon Braves.
The PBA will still field top contenders Barangay Ginebra and TNT Tropang Giga. The Japan B. League will deploy the Ryukyu Golden Kings and the Chiba Jets, while the Korean B. League will feature Anyang KGC and the Seoul SK Knights.
“EASL is ecstatic to welcome the New Taipei Kings to our inaugural home-and-away season and to grow our partnership with the P. League+,” Beyer continued.
“We look forward to bringing top Japan B. League, Korea Basketball League (KBL) and Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) teams to New Taipei in front of the Kings’ sellout crowds.”
New Taipei, coming in hot as the recent P. League+ season’s runner-up, also boasts a talented lineup led by Joseph Lin – Jeremy Lin’s brother – and former NBA player Byron Mullens.
“The New Taipei Kings are focused on building a tradition of excellence and part of that is playing in the toughest competition available to us. We’re very excited to join EASL in the upcoming season to face off against the top professional teams from around the region,” said team owner Phil Chen. – Rappler.com