January 26, 2021 at 08:00 pm
If you are a basketball team in the PBA, imagine your brand being carried across the Asian market.
Be it a liquor brand, a telco company, utility services, cosmetic business, manufacturing firm or a locally-made automotive trying to penetrate the Asian market, the East Asia Super League is definitely an ideal platform to get your brand exposed.
The PBA, being Asia’s pioneering professional league, now has a growing number of counterparts across the Asian region. Back in the late 1970s to early 80s, the PBA has become a destination of choice for imports. Outside of America, the Philippines is the ideal stopover for reinforcements, who continuously want to make a living playing ball.
Now, pro leagues in Japan, China, Korea and Middle East countries had been luring imports by providing them more lucrative offers and long-term contracts as opposed to the PBA’s shortened import-laced conferences where teams had restrictions getting reinforcements under a required height limit.
Through the years, we’ve also seen Filipino ballers playing as imports. Thirdy Ravena is the present day Pinoy import playing for the San-en NeoPhoenix in the Japanese B. League and Filipina Jack Animam is seeing action for her Taiwanese collegiate team
The creation of the East Asia Super League gives every professional league in the region an opportunity to meet and match. Here, the PBA will have a chance not just to expose the team’s brands, but also get the experience of competing against the best teams in Asia.
This will certainly be more helpful for Filipinos, who will have an up close and personal look at their potential rivals in the region.
Which is why it’s essential for the PBA to partner with EASL and allow its top two teams in between conference breaks or off season to compete in the fastest growing basketball and entertainment showcase in the region.
Not only does it provide participating teams from different region world-class level of games, it also guarantees free accommodation, large appearance fees and prize money for a group stage win. It also offers a $1-million cash prize for the champion team.
I was able to experience covering one of the legs of the EASL Super League two years ago in Macau and the entire delegation were billeted at the Ritz-Carlton in Macau. We’ve seen Ben Mbala, who after a glorious campaign with La Salle and led the Green Archers in the UAAP, move on to play as an import for a Mexican club before playing for the Seoul Samsung Thunders, the team he played for in the EASL.
We’ve also seen controversial former PBA import and NBA veteran Daniel Orton playing for the Taipei Fubon Braves and several more other ex-NBA players competing.
The EASL is definitely a great platform for the PBA -- for its teams and the league in general.
This early, there’s already a growing consensus from PBA personalities, past and present, to allow teams to compete in the EASL in between breaks to enjoy this great experience of competing against the best club teams in Asia and get them more exposed to regional basketball action.
Thursday’s PBA board meeting will be crucial as this will give the EASL a chance to make a presentation that is expected to be beneficial for both camps. The new home and away format which begins on October 20, brings a new hope to rejuvenate basketball in the region.
Known as the hub of Asian basketball, the EASL gives a better opportunity not just for the PBA, but to Philippine basketball in general in promoting the sport, the business, the travel, leisure and lifestyle as the country prepares for the 2023 hosting of the FIBA World Cup.
EASL has already inked a 10-year exclusive agreement with FIBA and in October of this year, it will stage a first of its kind tournament for professional club teams from China, Japan, Korea and the Philippines.
Teams will be divided into two groups of four, with each group playing in a round-robin format where each club plays teams within the same group in a home and away format. The two teams in each group will advance to the Final Four.
In 2018, Blackwater and NLEX participated in the EASL’s Summer League Super 8. This was followed in 2019 as three PBA teams -- San Miguel Beer, Blackwater and TNT -- joined in the Terrific 12.