The participation of four basketball superpowers in the region is expected to turn the Philippines into sports tourism destination next year.
This is the promise that the East Asia Super League offers with its planned opening on Oct. 20, 2021.
EASL Chief Executive Officer Matt Beyer said this after he got the Games and Amusement Board’s approval to invite professional club teams from the Philippine Basketball Association and allow foreign squads to come over as well.
“This will be a destination for tourism in Asia for the wildest and most passionate basketball fan,” said Beyer during a Zoom web conference, with GAB chairman Abraham Mitra and PBA club owner and EASL Business Development Officer Dioceldo Sy of Blackwater Elite.
Two teams from the PBA, which could be any of the pro league’s champions from its three conferences, will join an eight-team EASL format, which will also involve participants from China, Japan and Taiwan.
“This will be in different cities and it will be rotating round,” added Beyer.
Last month, the international basketball body, FIBA entered into a 10-year deal with the EASL.
The first two editions of the EASL are in 2021 and 2022, and will match up the region’s top eight teams in a home-and-away group stage.
It will culminate with a Final Four in February to determine the champion, runner-up and third-place finishers.
EASL plans to expand the competition to 16 teams by 2023.
“This is a milestone not only for Philippine basketball, but also for Asian basketball. We hope that this pandemic will be resolved soon so that we will be able to play together,” said Sy.