PBA backs EASL ‘Champions Week’

The Philippine Basketball Association tries to find ways to adjust its schedule for the staging of the East Asia Super League with a new format.

PBA commissioner Willie Marcial said he believes right planning and scheduling will allow the EASL “Champions Week” to proceed without disrupting the PBA calendar.

The prestigious regional league is looking at holding its inaugural season from 1 to 5 March in which top eight teams of the PBA, Japan B. League, Korean League and P. League+ will collide with Manila being eyed as host.

Philippine Cup champion San Miguel Beer and runner-up TNT Tropang Giga will represent the country.

The season-ending Governors’ Cup, however, is still ongoing around that time.

“I think it’s doable,” Marcial said in a telephone interview following a virtual meeting with EASL chief executive officer Matt Beyer and league chief financial officer Henry Kerins.

 “We’re already discussing plans with the other representatives in the league, but this is good for our basketball fans as we’re going to see some of the best teams in the Asian region.”

In the past, the PBA was able to hold side events in between conferences.

In fact, it staged the PBA-International Basketball Association series in which the visiting squads were able to play in a side event as appetizer for the World Challenge Cup in 1987.

The PBA brought in the top three teams of the All-Filipino Conference — Great Taste, Hills Brothers and San Miguel Beer — and went up against the IBA Selection coached by Ted Owens and featured several players led by future PBA imports Sean Chambers and Ray Hall.

Part of the show was a slam dunk contest with Chambers beating Billy Ray Bates in the final round.

Chambers returned the following year to represent the LA Jaguars in another PBA-IBA series.

Since then, he became a familiar fixture in the PBA, where he became the resident import of Alaska and eventually retired as the winningest import in league history.

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