Chiba, Seoul dispute EASL crown in 1-game showdown

John Bryan Ulanday - Philstar.com
Chiba, Seoul dispute EASL crown in 1-game showdown
Jameel Warney (34)
East Asia Super League

LAPU-LAPU CITY – Then there were two. 

The battle lines are drawn as undefeated Chiba of Japan and Seoul of South Korea duke it out in an expected fiery mano-a-mano for the East Asia Super League crown Sunday at the Hoops Dome here.

The Jets and the Knights, albeit with little to no break, march on to the field at 8 p.m. in the one-game title showdown to earn the bragging rights as the best club in all of East Asia plus a whopping $1-million grand prize. 

At 5 p.m., Filipino import Rhenz Abando and former titlist Anyang tussle with New Taipei sans injured ace Jeremy Lin for the bronze medal of the EASL, which has been participated by eight team across the Pacific in an inaugural home-and-away format since last year.

“We’ve been second in the past years. We will try to win it all,” said Jameel Warney, who anchored Seoul’s long overdue revenge on Korean rival Anyang, 94-79, in the Final Four Friday night. 

Warney cemented his stature as the EASL’s top gun with 38 points, 16 rebounds and six assists as the Knights finally got one on the Red Boosters after two straight heartbreaks in the EASL Champions Week and the Korean Basketball League (KBL) finals last year. 

The seasoned American reinforcement can bank on the support from fellow import Leon Williams as well as the steady shooting from snipers Jaehyun Oh and Youngjun An for the wards of coach Chun Hee-chul. 

But the favor is still on Chiba. 

The former Japan B. League champion, led by national team captain Yuki Togashi with 28 points, scored a feisty 92-84 win over the Jeremy Lin-less New Taipei in the other semis bracket to extend its unbeaten campaign to seven games.

“Our job is not finished. We will still come back against a really strong SK team,” said coach John Patrick, whose squad drew solid support from imports Xavier Cooks (24 points, 22 rebounds) and John Mooney (22 points and 12 rebounds) in fending off New Taipei.

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