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    San Miguel, TNT set to see action in EASL Champions Week in Japan

    Dec 7, 2022
    Jayson Castro scores against SMB big man June Mar Fajardo in Game 4.
    PHOTO: Jerome Ascano

    PBA Philippine Cup champion San Miguel and TNT will now have to play away from home when it competes in the East Asia Super League (EASL) Champions Week in March next year.

    Japan is set to host the March 1-5 event featuring champion teams of the region's top cage leagues.

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    The Utsonomiya Brex will be holding six games of the group stage in Tochigi Prefecture while the Ryukyu Golden Kings host the remaining schedule including the championship game on March 5 at the new Okinawa Stadium, which is also a 2023 Fiba Basketball World Cup venue.

    The champion team will be taking home $250,000 in prize money.

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      San Miguel and TNT earned the right to represent the country in the Champions Week after making the finals of the last all-Filipino conference.

      The Beermen are bracketed in Group A with the Golden Kings, Anyang KGC of Korea, and Taipei Fubon Braves of the PLeague+

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      The Tropang Giga meanwhile, are in Group B with the Brex, Seoul SK Knights, and the Bay Area Dragons.

      Schedule of games will be determined through a draw set to take place in December, which will be livestreamed globally.

      “We can’t wait to see our top teams head to Japan and compete in the East Asia Super League,” said PBA commissioner Willie Marcial. “We’re also well aware of the rising popularity of Filipino players and basketball in Japan, and we’re ready to make a strong run for the championship.”

      Each team will play two group stage games for a total of eight games from March 1-4.

      The first three group stage games will be held at the Utsunomiya Nikkan Arena, before the final group stage games shift to Okinawa Arena.

      The top two teams from each group advance to the next stage, before the two survivors play each other out in the championship match, and the other two in a battle for third place.

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      In case two or more teams finish with the same win-loss record at the end of the group stage, a tiebreaker will be implemented through the higher game points difference of all games in the group, or the higher number of game points scored in all games in the group.

      Runner up will be receiving $100,000, and third place $50,000.

      “EASL is honored to be the hub of East Asian basketball, bringing the best of the best of the region’s club teams together in an elite competition, supported by long-term agreements with FIBA and Asia’s top leagues,” said EASL CEO Matt Beyer.

      “EASL Champions Week in Japan will be unlike anything ever seen before and provide fans with electrifying game actions and a platform for the top leagues and professional teams in the region to gain global exposure.”

      The league will launch its home-and-away format in 2023 for Season 2, with representative teams qualifying through their current domestic seasons.

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      PHOTO: Jerome Ascano
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