After joining the Summer Super 8 tournament last year, the Blackwater Elite of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) returns to Macau to participating in this year’s The Terrific 12 tournament.

Hosted by the East Asia Super League (formerly Asia League), the 2019 edition will continue to feature top teams from the PBA, the Chinese Basketball Association, B.League Japan, and the Korean Basketball League.

Blackwater has a daunting task ahead of them as they are set to face Japanese squad Chiba Jets, who finished as runners-up in the previous B.League season, and South Korean club Seoul SK Knights in Group A.

Fellow PBA squads and recent Commissioner’s Cup finalists San Miguel Beermen and TNT Katropa have been drawn to Groups B and D, respectively.

The Elite will have more firepower this time, as the team will be bannered by PBA Rookie of the Year candidate Bobby Ray Parks Jr., and imports Alex Stepheson and Aaron Fuller, whereas they played without all three in an all-local setting in last year’s summer tournament.

Parks immediately made a difference after joining the Elite, leading them to a fourth place finish and into the quarterfinals behind his 22.4 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 4.1 assists per game averages in the past Commissioner’s Cup.

Blackwater Elite (Photo: Asia League)
Blackwater Elite participated in last year’s Summer Super 8 tournament (Photo: Asia League)

Stepheson also suited up for the team last conference, where he played six games and averaged 22 points, 22 rebounds, and two blocked shots per game before going down with a stomach issue. Meanwhile, Fuller also comes with valuable experience of playing for a PBA franchise, after donning the NLEX Road Warriors jersey for two conferences between 2017 and 2018.

Locals Mike DiGregorio, Mike Cortez, Raphael Banal, Gelo Alolino, Diego Dario, Roi Sumang, Abu Tratter, Mark Belo, James Sena, Chris Javier, Paul Desiderio, Rabah Al-Hussaini, Allein Maliksi, and Raymar Jose completes the lineup.

 

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Blackwater Elite Schedule:

September 17, 2019
1500H Seoul SK Knights v Blackwater Elite (Group A)

September 18, 2019
1700H Blackwater Elite v Chiba Jets (Group A)

September 21, 2019
1700H Seed 1A v Seed 1C*
1900H Seed 1B v Seed 1D*

September 22, 2019
1700H Third Place Game*
1900H Championship Game*
*If necessary

In their opening game of the tournament, the Elite needs to be wary of two-time KBL champions Seoul SK Knights’ pair of all-star guards and South Korean National Team members Kim Sunhyung and Choi Junyong.

They’ll then face the team that won the inaugural Asia League title in 2017, the Chiba Jets, the very next day. Led by veteran big man and team captain Ryumo Ono and rookie point guard Koh Flippin, the Jets will serves as a true acid test for the Elite.

Chiba Jets Super 8 Champions (Photo credit: Asia League)
The Chiba Jets won the 2017 Super 8 Championship  (Photo credit: Asia League)

All teams are set to battle the two other squads in their division in a single round-robin during the group stage, where only the top-seeded team advances to the knock-out semifinal round. The two eliminated teams then compete for third place, before the final two standing teams contend for The Terrific 12 championship.

East Asia Super League will host The Terrific 12 on September 17-22 at the Tap Seac Multi-sports Pavilion in Macau, China SAR. Visit Macau Ticket outlets or website to purchase.

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