FIBA, the world governing body of basketball, announced it has agreed to a 10-year deal that grants the East Asia Super League (EASL) support from FIBA Asia to organize an annual competition that pits the top professional teams from East Asia and the Philippines.
That new tournament will be launched in October 2021, giving teams from the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) another avenue to showcase their talent and skills.
Three teams have joined previous iterations of the EASL. These are the San Miguel Beermen, the Blackwater Bossing and the NLEX Road Warriors.
The first two editions (2021/22 & 2022/23) of the EASL will match up the region’s top eight teams in a home-and-away group format, culminating with a Final Four in February to determine the champion, runner-up and third-place finishers. EASL also has plans to expand the competition to as many as 16 teams by 2023. The EASL matches will be integrated into schedules of the participating professional leagues.
“The recognition of the East Asia Super League is based on a shown commitment to developing basketball in the region, and is in line with FIBA’s club competition strategy that is to shape international club competitions,” said FIBA Secretary General Andreas Zagklis in a statement.
“EASL has demonstrated a great operational capability to organize a high-level competition for top clubs, and a strong commitment to elevate the sport of basketball in East Asia within the FIBA regulatory framework for leagues,” said FIBA Executive Director Asia Hagop Khajirian.
“We are delighted to grant long-term recognition and support to the EASL as the exclusive platform of its kind in East Asia,” added Khajirian.
The agreement follows EASL’s staging of four successful pre-season tournaments over the past three years, featuring elite club teams from the top leagues in Asia, including CBA (China), B.LEAGUE (Japan), KBL (South Korea), SBL (Chinese Taipei), and ABL (Southeast Asia).
EASL’s week-long The Terrific 12 tournament, which is held in Macao in September 2019, attracted both sellout live audiences and more than 117 million viewers worldwide. (JNP)