OFFICIALS of Asia League are ecstatic that the finalists in the last PBA Commissioner’s Cup finals will both see action in the coming Terrific 12 tournament in Macau next month.
Matt Beyer, Asia League CEO, said the presence of TnT Katropa and newly-crowned champion San Miguel Beer, along with fellow PBA ballclub Blackwater will certainly raise the level of competition in the Sept. 17-22 meet.
All three teams are seeing action in the Sept. 17 opener at the Tap Seac Multisport Pavilion.
Blackwater, reinforced by Alex Stepheson and Aaron Fuller, kicks off hostilities in the heavy four-game bill as it tackles former Korea Basketball League champion Seoul SK Knights at 3 p.m.
After the 5 p.m. match between Jeonju KCC Egis and Zhejiang Guangsha Lions at 5 p.m., the Beermen make their Asia League debut by battling Shenzhen Aviators of China at 7 p.m. with Des Wells and Lester Prosper reinforcing the team. Prosper suited up for Columbian Dyip in the recently-concluded conference.
In the nightcap, TnT faces 2017-18 Chinese Basketball Association champion Liaoning Flying Leopards. Former Houston Rocket KJ McDaniels will serve as the import of the Katropa.
Beyer along with Asia League chief financial officer Henry Kerins were in the country last week and watched Game 5 of the finals which the Beermen won in dramatic fashion, 99-94, after rallying from a 16-point fourth quarter deficit.
“It was a highly-competitive game, the kind which San Miguel, Talk N’ Text, and Blackwater are capable of bringing to the Asia League,” Beyer related to SPIN.ph as they sat at the Smart Araneta Coliseum ringside as special guest of PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial and Blackwater team owner Dioceldo Sy.
Beyer was hoping Terrence Jones of TnT and San Miguel’s Chris McCullough, a pair of first-round NBA draft picks, would come to Macau and play for their respective teams, although prior commitments had them skipping the tournament altogether.
“That would have been great, but it is what it is,” said Beyer.
Jones returned to the U.S. on Sunday as the Rockets and reportedly another NBA team are eyeing the services of the Commissioner’s Cup Best Import awardee.
McCullough will take a brief rest and then return to Asia and play in the KBL.