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FIBA, EASL agree on landmark league pitting top East Asian, PH squads

We may see more of the likes of the San Miguel Beermen in Asian hoop circuit beginning next year. 
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Asian professional basketball is set to go a notch higher this decade.

The East Asia Super League announced on Thursday that beginning next year, a new tournament pitting teams from China, Japan, South Korea, and the Philippines will commence.

The league behind The Terrific 12 tournament further announced that it made an agreement with FIBA for the latter's support to the new league for the next 10 years.

EASL chief executive officer Matt Beyer projects that the new league will become one of top club leagues in the world in five years time.

“EASL is thrilled to receive FIBA’s support for the launch of our league. With top teams from the Greater China region, Japan, Korea, and the Philippines, we are confident it will become one of the top professional basketball competitions in the world by 2025," Beyer said in a statement.

“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,” added FIBA secretary general Andreas Zagklis.

“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,” quipped FIBA executive director for Asia Hagop Khajirian.

Similar to the ABL, the EASL will be a home-and-away tournament, and the new league plans to begin its inaugural staging right after next year's FIBA Asia Champions Cup.

In the first two seasons, the EASL will have eight teams, and four of the teams will qualify for the playoffs slated in February of the following year.

The EASL looks to expand the playing field to 16 clubs starting with the 2023-24 season.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno_