An opportunity is opening up for the Philippine Basketball Association to be able to expand its horizons on a global scale.
PBA chairman Ricky Vargas said this after the league signed a partnership with the East Asia Super League on Wednesday.
The EASL, which also hooked up with four other leagues in the region, envisions itself as one of the top three professional basketball leagues globally by 2025.
“It’s important for us to open up relationships and operations with other leagues in the region. This gives us the opportunity to do so. It provides us opportunities for exposure for PBA teams and players,” said Vargas in a Zoom conference on Thursday with scribes.
EASL president and CEO Matt Beyer said the $1-million top prize will spice the quest to claim the crown in the first year of the tournament.
“That’s the point of this all, and that’s what motivates the teams and everyone is the $1-million to prize,” said Beyer.
Vargas believes that the home-and-away format will be a new experience for the team, the players and fans alike.
The EASL is into a 10-year agreement with basketball’s world governing body, FIBA.
Selected teams from the Japan B.LEAGUE, Korean Basketball League and Chinese Taipei P. LEAGUE+ and a seeded and top Greater China team in Hong Kong will be joining the EASL in its first two seasons.
Beyer said the league used to have an invitation-only format, and the EASL will transition from that with the home-and-away setup when they launch in October.
“This gives the tournament a long period of time to develop. Instead of a week, we go from six months to a year,” explained Beyer.
Under the EASL format, the current eight-team lineup will be divided into two groups of four to play a round-robin format.
There will a total of 24 games during the group stage in each of the first two seasons.
The first season will run from October 2022 to February 2023, with two EASL Group Stage games taking place every Wednesday night.