All systems go for Macau Terrific 12
MANILA, Philippines — Tickets are now on sale and business is brisk at the booths as fans eagerly await the start of the Terrific 12 tournament featuring three PBA, four Japanese, three Chinese and two Korean pro teams at the Tap Seac Multi-Sports Pavilion in Macau on Sept. 17-22.
East Asia Super League CEO Matt Beyer and CFO Henry Kerins arrived in Manila the other day to finalize plans with PBA commissioner Willie Marcial on the participation of San Miguel Beer, TNT and Blackwater in the competition where the prizes are $150,000 for the winner, $100,000 for the runner-up and $50,000 for the third placer. Each of the 12 teams in the tilt will receive an appearance fee of $50,000.
Beyer said it’s the biggest basketball tournament he’s been involved in since breaking ground with a five-day joust called Summer Super 8 in Macau in 2017. Last year, PBA teams Blackwater and NLEX joined the second Summer Super 8 event with no imports in Macau. Additionally, Beyer introduced the Terrific 12 concept last year with each team allowed to enlist two imports. The Philippines was represented in the first Terrific 12 by a PBA D-League selection called the iECO Green Warriors.
“We’re excited to bring the Terrific 12 to the next level,” said Beyer. “Every team is gearing up for battle. The Liaoning Flying Leopards, for instance, are showing up with two NBA veterans Lance Stephenson and Brandon Bass. Who can forget Lance blowing into LeBron James’ ear in trying to rattle him during their Game 5 matchup in the 2014 Eastern Conference Finals between Indiana and Miami? Liaoning’s leader is Guo Ailun who was the point guard matched up against Jayson Castro when China beat the Philippines in the FIBA Asia Cup final in Changsha in 2015. The other imports are equally impressive but we’ve also got some of the best local players in Asia like Korean MVP Lee Junghyun, Japan’s first NBA player Yuta Tabuse and Japanese B-League MVP Makoto Hiejima.”
Marcial said the PBA is out to make an impact in Macau. “I told Matt the PBA will be represented by the Commissioner’s Cup finalists and one of our up-and-coming teams Blackwater,” he said. “This is a great opportunity to test our mettle against the top clubs in Asia.” Blackwater team owner Dioceldo Sy said the Elite will be bannered by imports Alex Stepheson and Aaron Fuller. Sy said Fuller will be retained by Blackwater as its import for the coming Governors Cup. Stepheson, who has played for the Los Angeles Clippers and Memphis Grizzlies in the NBA, staked Blackwater to a 5-1 record in the Commissioner’s Cup this season then returned to the US for treatment of a stomach virus. He promised Sy to return and deal with unfinished business so his much-awaited comeback will be in Macau.
Beyer said the 12 teams will be split into four groups of three in the eliminations then the top placers in each bracket will advance to the semifinals. There will be a playoff for third place before the championship game on Sept. 22.
“We drew up the groups so that no two teams from the same country will be in one bracket,” said Beyer. “We also took into consideration the even distribution of talent so every game is guaranteed to be competitive. A lot of money and of course, prestige will be at stake so I expect the games to be a thrill from start to finish.”
Blackwater will be in Group A with the Seoul SK Nights of Korea and Chiba Jets of Japan. San Miguel Beer will be in Group B with the Shenzhen Aviators of China and Ryukyu Golden Kings of Japan. Group C is made up of the Zhejiang Guangsha Lions of China, Utsunomiya Brex of Japan and Jeonju KCC Egis of Korea. TNT will be in Group D with Liaoning of China and Niigata Albirex of Japan.