Sep 15, 2023

Meralco replaces Ginebra, joins TNT in EASL

MERALCO joins TNT as the Philippine representative when the EASL (East Asia Super League) launches its first ever home-and-away season by next month.

The Bolts take over the slot originally reserved for PBA Commissioner's Cup champion Barangay Ginebra, whose core players and head coach in Tim Cone have been at the forefront of Gilas Pilipinas' preparation for the coming Asian Games.

The new EASL season starts on Oct. 11.

It's the first time the Bolts will see action in the regional league, where the Tropang Giga represented the PBA last season along with San Miguel.

TNT plays Japan B. League counterpart Chiba Jets in the lone opening game at the Funabashi Arena in Chiba, Japan.

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Meralco on the other hand, won't be having its debut game until November 15 against reigning B. League champion Ryukyu Golden Kings in Okinawa, Japan.

The Tropang Giga are in Group A along with the Jets, reigning KBL (Korean Basketball League) champion Anyang Jung Kwan Jang Red Boosters, and P.League+ titlist Taipei Fubon Braves.

In Group B meanwhile, are the Bolts, Golden Kings, Seoul SK Knights, and another debutant team in New Taipei Kings.

"Filipino basketball fans can't wait to see TNT Tropang Giga and Meralco Bolts face off against the champions from other countries during this EASL season," said PBA commissioner Willie Marcial.

"It's an opportunity to showcase the Filipino brand of play on the international stage and we're excited to continue our partnership with EASL in growing the sport we love in our region."

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The top two teams in each group will advance to the crossover semifinals, with the winners facing each other in the finals set March of next year. (RG)