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    No early clash for SMB, Bay Area Dragons in EASL Champions Week

    Jan 10, 2023
    Chris Ross San Miguel vs Bay Area
    Chris Ross and the rest of the Beermen are unlikely to face Bay Area in the EASL.
    PHOTO: Jerome Ascaño

    NOT unless San Miguel Beer advances to the championship round of the East Asia Super League (EASL) Champions Week, chances of crossing paths anew with the Bay Area Dragons is unlikely.

    EASL Champions Week schedule

    The full schedule of the regional league that kicks off March 1 in Japan was formally released Tuesday, with the defending Philippine Cup champion Beermen and even TNT Tropang Giga not in the mix of meeting the Dragons anew, who made the finals of the ongoing PBA Commissioner’s Cup opposite Barangay Ginebra.

    Although the Tropang Giga and Dragons are both include in Group B, the two won’t be clashing as per the result of the draw held to determine the scheduling of the game.

    The Dragons whipped the Tropang Giga, 140-108, in their lone game during the eliminations, and won’t have a chance for a payback according to the Champions Week schedule.

    It’s the Beermen who have a shot at getting even with their tormentors following their sorry 3-1 loss against the Dragons in their highly-intense semifinals series.

    San Miguel is in Group A along with Anyang KGC, Taipeh Fubon Braves, and Ryukyu Golden Kings.

    And provided the Beermen make the Final Four along with the Dragons, chances of the two meeting each other again is such a possibility.

    Completing Group B are Seoul SK Knights and Utsunomiya Brex.

    The Tropang Giga kick off the Philippine side’s campaign as they battle defending B. League champion Utsunomiya Brex on opening night of the regional league at the Brex Arena.

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      The 7:30 p.m. encounter (Japan time) serves as the main game of the opener’s doubleheader that will have Anyang KGC featuring Filipino import Rhenz Abando, taking on Taipei Fubon Braves in the curtain raiser at 5 p.m.

      The following day, San Miguel Beer makes its debut against another B League runner up Ryukyu Golden Kings, even as the Area Dragons tackle the Seoul SK Knights in the other game.

      Utsunomiya will host the first six games of the eight-game group stage, before the tournament travels to Okinawa, where the Golden Kings host the remaining two group stage games, before proceeding with the championship match and third place game at their newly-built home, the Okinawa City Multi-Purpose Stadium, which will also serve as the venue for the 2023 FIBA World Cup.

      “EASL is excited to hold Champions Week in Japan, in collaboration with the B. League after over three years of no games on the court due to COVID-19,” said EASL CEO Matt Beyer. “Basketball continues to rise in popularity in Japan and across the region, and EASL Champions Week will provide a foundation for our home-and-away season beginning in October 2023.”

      Owing to time constraints, each team will only play two games during the group stage.

      The rest of the group stage will have TNT vs SK Knights at 5 p.m., and the Dragons against the Brex at 7:30 p.m. on March 3.

      The Beermen then open hostilities in Okinawa by going up against Abando and KGC on March 4 in the first game, followed by the Kings taking on the Braves at 7:30 p.m.

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      The top two teams in each group dispute the championship and the $250,000 prize money on March 5, while the two best teams in each group will battle for third place worth $50,000.

      The runner-up meanwhile, takes home $100,000.

      “We are very excited to host the highly-anticipated EASL Champions Week on our home courts in Japan,” said B. League chairman Shinji Shimada. “We are pleased to be able to hold EASL Champions Week as a home event for the Ryukyu Golden Kings and Utsunomiya Brex. I hope Japanese basketball fans will enjoy it and support the teams during their B. League season and during the EASL Champions Week as the two B. League teams are aiming to be number one in East Asia."

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      Chris Ross and the rest of the Beermen are unlikely to face Bay Area in the EASL.
      PHOTO: Jerome Ascaño
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