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San Miguel, TNT head to Japan


San Miguel and TNT will proudly represent the Philippines in the East Asia Super League (EASL) Champions Week in Japan.

Departing Manila on Tuesday, the reigning PBA Philippine Cup champion San Miguel led by six-time MVP June Mar Fajardo heads to Okinawa, while veteran guard Jayson Castro and TNT head to Utsunomiya.

The Tropang Giga, led by coach Jojo Lastimosa, kick off the country’s campaign in the regional meet on opening day against the host team Utsunomiya Brex.

The team will be reinforced by towering Daniel Ochefu and Jalen Hudson, a replacement for Governors Cup regular import Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, who failed to secure his entertainment visa in time for the tournament. TNT is in Group B with Utsunomiya, Seoul SK Knights, and recent PBA Commissioner’s Cup guest team and runner-up Bay Area, who added Fil-Am Sedrick Barefield to its roster.

Meanwhile, San Miguel faces Ryukyu, a team that features three-time PBA Best Import Allen Durham and young Gilas Pilipinas stalwart Carl Tamayo on Thursday.

Cameron Clark and Jessie Govan will serve as imports for San Miguel, coached by Jorge Gallent. The Beermen are in Group A with Ryukyu, Taipei Fubon, and Anyang KGC.

On Friday, the Tropang Giga returns to action against the Knights, while the Beermen face NCAA Season 98 MVP and Gilas member Rhenz Abando and Anyang KGC the following day.

The top two teams in Group A and B will dispute the championship and the $250,000 prize purse that comes with it, while the no.2 teams in each group battle for third place. The runner-up will receive $100,000 and third place $50,000.

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The championship round will be played in Okinawa.

San Miguel and TNT earned the right to represent the Philippines in the tournament after making the finals of the last Philippine Cup.

Both teams are determined to carry the Philippine flag and pride in the EASL Champions Week and showcase their basketball prowess on an international stage.

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