MANILA, Philippines -- The finalists of the PBA Philippine Cup will have a tough schedule to start their campaign in the inaugural season of the East Asia Super League (EASL).
The champion of the All-Filipino Conference will be in action in the league's first double-header on October 12, when they visit KBL runners-up Anyang KGC in Korea. Anyang KGC features national team mainstay Byeon Jun Hyung and possibly, NCAA Rookie-MVP Rhenz Abando, who recently signed with the Korean team.
Meanwhile, the runners-up of the All-Filipino Conference will host the Bay Area Dragons in the other game of the double-header.
The Philippine Cup is currently at the semifinal stage, featuring best-of-seven series between Meralco and San Miguel Beer, and TNT Tropang GIGA and Magnolia. Game 1 of both series is on Wednesday.
On October 19, the other half of the eight-team field makes their respective debuts. Reigning P.League+ champion Taipei Fubon Braves meet B.League runner-up Ryukyu Golden Kings at home, while it's a clash of champions between B.League's Utsunomiya Brex against KBL's Seoul SK Knights in Japan.
Capping the action in October is the game between Anyang and Braves in Korea, and the PBA champ against the Dragons in Manila on October 26.
Only two games will be held in November to give way to the FIBA World Cup qualifying window, and it features the Knights going up against Brex in Korea, and the PBA champion hosting the Kings on Nov. 2.
In December, the PBA runner-up plays two games against Brex on the road on Dec. 7, and then takes the same Japan-based team at home on December 21.
The Philippine Cup champions will host the Braves in Manila on December 28.
The rest of the Filipinos' schedule will have the Philippine Cup runner up traveling to Korea to face the Knights on January 11 and the champion going to Taipei and battle the Braves on the same day, the runner up goes up against the Knights in Manila on January 18, while the champion team hosts Anyang on January 25 and then goes to Japan on February 1 to meet the Kings.
The eight teams have been divided into two groups of four each.
Heading Group A is Anyang, Braves, Kings, and the PBA champion, while in Group B are the Knights, Brex, Dragons, and PBA runner-up.
Top two teams in each group advance to the crossover Final 4 on March 3, with the two teams to survive playing for the $1 million final on March 5.
The full schedule is as follows: