Tough action awaits the winner of the ongoing Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Philippine Cup when the East Asia Super League opens shop this October.
The All-Filipino champion will kick off the 2022-2023 season against Gilas Pilipinas stalwart Rhenz Abando and Korean Basketball League (KBL) runner-up Anyang KGC in Group A on 12 October in South Korea.
With the Philippine Cup semifinals now under way, Anyang is likely to face either powerhouse San Miguel Beer, TNT Tropang Giga, Magnolia or Meralco.
The Philippine Cup runner-up team, meanwhile, will be battling fellow Group B contender Bay Area Dragons of Hong Kong in Manila at the same date.
The PBA champion squad and Anyang banner Group A alongside Taiwan P.League champion Taipei Fubon Braves and Japanese B.League second placer Ryukyu Golden Kings.
The PBA runner-up and the Dragons, meanwhile, will be joined by B.League winner Utsunomiya Brex and KBL champion Seoul SK Knights.
Abando, who won the Most Valuable Player plum in the National Collegiate Athletic Association, decided to forego his final year at Letran College to jump to the professional ranks abroad.
He is the latest Gilas player to join the KBL exodus together with the likes of national team mainstays SJ Belangel, RJ Abarrientos and Will Navarro.
The October window will also feature the Braves against the Golden Kings in Taiwan, while Utsonomiya and the Knights will figure in a battle of champions.
On 26 October, it will be the Dragons who will host the PBA runner-up, while Anyang clashes with the Braves.
The home-and-away group stage format will run until 1 February, where the top two teams in each group advance to the crossover Final Four on 3 March and the survivors will battle for the cool $1 million pot money in the final on 5 March.
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