Vargas: PBA will prove mettle in EASL


THE Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) accepted the challenge of the East Asia Super League (EASL) to prove that Asia’s first professional league remains the toughest in the continent.

“I think the PBA has something to prove and that is our league is the best in Asia,” PBA Chairman Ricky Vargas told an online news conference on Wednesday. “We do have the talent and we are very excited to be part of this league.”

The PBA on Wednesday sealed a multi-year partnership with EASL which kicks off in October 2022. The regional league will feature eight top teams from the PBA and the pro leagues in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong and China.

“We not only have the talent but we have seasoned competitors who played in the PBA and for our national team—that’s something I’m very proud of,” Vargas said. “We have the coaching know-how to be competitive.”

PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial and EASL Chief Executive Officer Matt Beyer joined Vargas in the news conference.

Beyer thanked the PBA for its participation, saying the EASL wants the best team from the league.

“That’s what the fans want to see. We want to see the best Filipino teams possible and we want to have the matches possible on a weekly basis,” Beyer said.

A top prize of $1 million is at stake in EASL, with the runner-up getting $500,000 and the third-placer $250,000.

But Vargas said it is not all about the money.

“What are important are the quality of the competition and pride,” he said.

The EASL started four years ago with NLEX and Blackwater playing in the inaugurals. The league was then called the Super 8 before expanding to the Terrific 12 in 2019 where Blackwater, San Miguel Beer and TNT Tropang Giga participated.

Vargas said it’s time to grab the opportunity to give the PBA teams overseas exposures.

“It’ss important to cooperate with various leagues in Asia to hone the players by playing against ‘the best talents against the best-tested teams.’”

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