Philippine basketball

PBA joins EASL to forge stronger ties, prove it is ‘best league in Asia’

Delfin Dioquino
PBA joins EASL to forge stronger ties, prove it is ‘best league in Asia’

FOREIGN BATTLE. San Miguel is one of the four PBA teams that have seen action in tournaments staged by the East Asia Super League.

East Asia Super League

Going global is the goal of the PBA as it becomes a member of the East Asia Super League

The PBA aims to prove that is it the “best league in Asia” after it struck a deal with the East Asia Super League (EASL) to forge stronger ties with other leagues in the region.

Going global is the goal of the PBA as it became a member of EASL, which will stage a tournament next year where the top teams from the Philippines, Japan, China, Taiwan, and Korea will see action.

“The intention why we wanted to be there [is] so that we can also have stronger ties with the four, five leagues in the region,” said PBA chairman Ricky Vargas during the Philippine Sportswriters Association online forum.

With Thirdy Ravena blazing the trail, a bunch of Filipino basketball players opted to pursue overseas careers, most notably in the Japan B. League.

The PBA even figured in a tug of war with the B. League as Kiefer Ravena signed with the Shiga Lakestars despite having a live contract with the NLEX Road Warriors.

Over in Taiwan, Gilas Pilipinas guard Jordan Heading inked a deal with the Taichung Suns of the T1 League even as he remained under contract with the Samahang Basketbol ng Pilipinas.

“When we do have stronger ties there, we will be able to see to it that we respect each other’s rights in terms of movements of players. We will have better coordination in terms of movements of players,” Vargas said.

A total of four PBA teams have competed in tournaments organized by the EASL, namely, San Miguel, TNT, NLEX, and Blackwater.

NLEX and Blackwater participated in The Super 8 in 2018, while San Miguel, TNT, and Blackwater took part in The Terrific 12 in 2019.

However, no PBA squad has won an EASL title, with San Miguel and NLEX both landing at fourth place for the highest finish of a Filipino team.

“[T]he reason we also joined that is we also wanted to show that we are the best league in Asia,” said Vargas.

“It will be good for us to show that the PBA is alive and the PBA is competitive in a league such as that.”

Vargas said the PBA also plans to bring EASL games to the country.

“It’s the beginning of going global. It’s time to open up, join our brothers in Asia, work with them, play with them, and show them what the Filipino has,” Vargas said.

“What will happen is we have more opportunities for our players to able to show their wares overseas.” –

Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.