Meralco joins TNT in EASL as Brgy. Ginebra begs off

Meralco will join TNT as the Philippine representative to the East Asia Super League (EASL) once the regional tournament begins its inaugural home-and-away season next month.

The Bolts will take the place of PBA Commissioner’s Cup champion Brgy. Ginebra after the Gin Kings begged off as their key players along with head coach Tim Cone are currently deep in training with Gilas Pilipinas for the upcoming Asian Games.

The new EASL season begins on October 11.

It will be the Bolts’ debut appearance while the Tropang Giga will be coming back for a second stint. The flagship team of the MVP group, along with the San Miguel Beermen, represented the PBA last season.

TNT takes on Japan B. League rival Chiba Jets in the lone inaugural game at Chiba’s Funabashi Arena.

Meralco, on the other hand, will not play its first game until November 15 in Okinawa, Japan, against the reigning B.League champion Ryukyu Golden Kings.

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

Meanwhile, the Bolts, Golden Kings, Seoul SK Knights, and another debuting team, New Taipei Kings, are in Group B.

“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.”

The top two teams from each group will advance to the crossover semifinals, with the winners meeting in the finals scheduled for March of next year.

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