EASL to document inaugural season with 10-episode reality series

ABS-CBN News

Posted at Jul 21 2022 11:12 AM

Action in the EASL starts in October. Handout photo
Action in the EASL starts in October. Handout photo

MANILA, Philippines -- The East Asia Super League (EASL) will immortalize its inaugural season with a long-form reality series that will document what happens on and off the court in the home-and-away regional championship league.

Production already began for the series to be helmed by award-winning Korean film director John H. Lee of the "Battle for Incheon: Operation Chromite" fame, alongside Korean production powerhouse studio IGNITE.

Executive producers are Jonah Greenberg of Salty Pictures and Ezra Holland, director of CTRL Media owned by NBA legend and current Brooklyn Nets head coach Steve Nash, along with Marc Iserlis of Third Culture Collective.

The series will explore the high-stakes drama on and off the court throughout the basketball league's inaugural season as teams compete from all over Greater China, Japan, Korea and the Philippines.

Taking center stage will be the heart and soul of the players, the coaches and the greater team rivalries. The series will pull back the curtains on the contrasting cultures, gameplay and lifestyles of all that East Asian basketball has to offer.

During the inaugural grouping ceremony held last month at Shangri-La The Fort, Lee and his production crew were on the ground in Manila to document the historic event and begin interviewing league commissioners, top players, coaches and influencers.

In just two days, the crew interviewed more than 40 different stakeholders who were all gathered in Manila for the kick-off event, including EASL ambassador and NBA champion Metta World Peace, PBA commissioner Willie Marcial, B.League chairman Shinji Shimada, Korean Basketball League (KBL) commissioner Kim Hee Ok, among others. 

As one of the oldest-running leagues in the world, the PBA has no shortage of stories to tell.

"The Philippines is a very basketball-passionate country, and the PBA is a league full of dynamic players and vibrant fans. We fully welcome and support this production series from EASL, and we look forward to working together on this in order to create something that our fans will really enjoy," said Marcial.

"We're telling real human stories in a way that's never been seen or done before with the best of the best," said Lee, who once directed "Squid Game" star Lee Jung-Jae. "This will be a multi-layered 10-episode docuseries that dives deep into the world of basketball via East Asia Super League's premier competition.

"EASL is honored to be working with production powerhouses of Studio IGNITE!, Salty Pictures, and CTRL Media. This project has been in the works for some time, and we are so excited to kick it off with this group," said EASL CEO Matt Beyer.

The KBL has seen its popularity on the rise recently as traditional audiences take note of the rising level of play on the court. The series will now act as another catalyst in boosting its brand awareness with a larger demographic.

"The KBL is very excited to work with EASL on the production of this series. We believe this will showcase Korean basketball in a way that's never been seen before," said Ok. "Seoul SK Knights and Anyang KGC will be great ambassadors from our league."

Newly-crowned P.League+ champion Taipei Fubon Braves will have their first-ever feature in a major production.

"We are a young league, but we are creating a lot of entertainment value for our fans from our exciting domestic games and competing with the best of the best in Asia," said P. League+ CEO Charles Chen.

"Now, fans will have the opportunity to dig even deeper into our basketball community through the Taipei Fubon Braves. We are very excited to be a part of this production."

The newly formed Bay Area Dragons is seen by many as the dark horse of the EASL's first season, and the series will lift the veil on how this team operates.

"We've put together the best roster that we can for our first season in EASL and the PBA," said Bay Area Dragons general manager Liu Quansheng. "Personally, I'm very excited to see what these players will be up to when they're not on the court," he added.