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GRUDGE MATCH — Tropang Giga, Jets book Sta. Rosa duel

RONDAE Hollis-Jefferson of TNT Tropang Giga and Justyn Mutts of Chiba Jets will renew their rivalry when the East Asia Super League moves to Laguna on 1 November. | PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY OF EASL

The East Asia Super League vows to make its first official game in the country an experience like no other.

Reigning Philippine Basketball Association Governors’ Cup champion TNT Tropang Giga seeks payback against the Chiba Jets as the two teams clash in a rematch on 1 November at the Sta. Rosa Sports Complex in Laguna.

Outside of the game, the league will also be offering special treats to the fans such as live entertainment, make-up stations, barber chairs, and a “mud wrestling with a carabao.”

“What we want to do is put a stamp on it just like other geographies that the experience is uniquely Philippines,” EASL chief operating officer and co-founder Matt Beyer said days leading to the first ever game the EASL will be holding in the Philippines.

“We are trying to create a special atmosphere.”

Atmosphere is going to be intense come the 7 p.m. game as the Tropang Giga try to even things up with their B. League counterpart, which beat them in their first encounter two weeks ago, 93-75, in Funabashi Arena in Japan.

TNT will parade a well-rested Rondae Hollis-Jefferson together with fellow import Quincy Miller, while suiting up Gilas Pilipinas stalwart Calvin Oftana and new acquisition Jewel Ponferada.

Oftana missed out the 11 October game as he was coming off a stint with the national team in the 19th Asian Games, while Ponferada’s travel papers were not completed in time for the match.

The Jets are coming over with a perfect 2-0 record for the top spot in Group A.

They are fresh from a thrilling 85-82 come-from-behind win in overtime against the Taipei Fubon Braves at the National Taiwan University Sports Center last week.

Team captain Yuki Tagashi caught fire for 38 points spiked by nine three pointers including the game winning trey.

The Sta. Rosa tussle is the first in a series of home games for TNT and Meralco in the EASL Home And Away season as announced by Beyer, who was joined in an online presser by PBA commissioner Willie Marcial, Meralco team manager Paolo Trillo, and TNT deputy coach Sandy Arespacochaga.

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