AFTER their blockbuster title confrontation in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup, Barangay Ginebra and Hong Kong’s Bay Area Dragons are up for more duels both locally and internationally.
The Gin Kings and the Dragons are set to renew their rivalry not only in the PBA’s Season 48 opening conference but also in the East Asia Super League’s (EASL) 2022-23 tournament, where they got pooled together.
In Wednesday’s draw, the crowd darlings drew the Dragons in Group B along with two teams with Filipino imports, Korea’s Seoul SK Knights and Japan’s Ryukyu Golden Kings.
Reigning Japan B. League titlist Ryukyu will feature Carl Tamayo while the Knights signed up Juan Gomez de Liano after their runner-up finish in the Korean Basketball League.
Ginebra and Bay Area are expected to carry over the highly-competitive, top-quality matchup they had in the PBA wars, where Tim Cone’s crew prevailed, 114-99, in a decider witnessed by a record 54,589 crowd at the Philippine Arena.
Reigning PBA Governors’ Cup kingpin TNT, meanwhile, got Korean ruler Anyang KGC, Taiwanese P. League champ Fubon Braves and B. League second-placer Chiba Jets as opposition in Group A.
Anyang, which topped the pre-season EASL Champions Week last March in Japan, will have Pinoy import Rhenz Abando in the fold anew as it battles the Tropang Giga, Braves and Jets.
Hostilities are slated to start in October featuring a home-and-away format.
Redemption is foremost in the minds of the PBA squads after a woeful showing in the previous EASL gig. San Miguel Beer and the Tropang Giga, slowed down by injuries and lack of time to build chemistry with their second imports, both lost their two assignments by big margins in the Champions Week. — Olmin Leyba