BASKETBALL | EASL Champions Week Set to Tip Off in Utsunomiya
Representatives of the B.League and pro teams from South Korea, Taiwan and the Philippines are making final preparations for the EASL Champions Week.
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The reigning B.League champion Utsunomiya Brex are one of eight teams set to compete in the EASL Champions Week.
Initially, East Asia Super League organizers outlined a plan to host home-and-away competition in 2022-23 to determine the top teams for a Final Four event this spring. But due to COVID-19 travel restrictions and related concerns, the EASL opted for an abbreviated schedule, deciding for a compact schedule in the inaugural tournament.
Plans are in place for a home-and-away format to be used in 2023-24.
Utsunomiya, Tochigi Prefecture (Nikkan Arena Tochigi), and Okinawa City (Okinawa Arena) are the host cities for 10 games to be held from March 1-5.
For the first three days of the tournament, Wednesday through Friday, action will tip off at 5 PM and 7:30 PM in Utsunomiya.
Joining the Brex are the following seven teams:
- The Ryukyu Golden Kings, the runners-up in last year's B.League Finals;
- Two Korean Basketball League clubs (defending league champion Seoul SK Knights and runners-up Anyang KGC);
- A pair of Philippine Basketball Association squads (San Miguel Beermen and TNT Tropang Giga, first- and second-place finishers, respectively);
- The Taiwan P. League+'s Taipei Fubon Braves;
- And the Bay Area Dragons, a PBA guest team from Hong Kong that placed second to the Beermen in the Commissioner's Cup in January.
Group A teams are San Miguel, Ryukyu, Taipei and Anyang, while the Group B clubs are TNT, Utsunomiya, Bay Area and Seoul.
"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," EASL CEO Matt Beyer said in January.
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Author: Ed Odeven
Find Ed on JAPAN Forward's dedicated website, SportsLook. Follow his [Japan Sports Notebook] on Sundays, [Odds and Evens] during the week, and Twitter ＠ed_odeven.
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