Jason Castro is set to face a legit NBA superstar when The Terrific 12 happens from September 17-22, 2019 at Macao’s Tap Seac Multi-Sport Pavilion.
The Blur will go head to head with Lance Stephenson as the TNT KaTropa aims to become the team from Group D to advance to the semis and eliminate Stephenson and the Liaoning Flying Leopards of China, who will also feature former Dallas Maverick center Salah Mejri.
The 12 competing teams in the tournament are divided into four groups of three in the Group Stage, with each club playing two games in a round robin format in their respective groups. The top team from each group will then advance to the semifinals in a do-or-die match. The semis winners will compete for The Terrific 12 championship, while the semis losers will compete for third place.
The battle royale will involve top club teams from China, Japan, South Korea and the Philippines as they fill the tournament to the brim with All-Star and national team talents.
These best teams across East Asia, each of whom are championship contenders in their respective leagues, are leaving nothing to chance and have assembled their best rosters, including national team players and foreign imports.
“I can’t wait to play in The Terrific 12 with my new teammates. I’m excited to play in such a great tournament this early in the season. It should really help us unite as a team and help me acclimate to this new style of play more easily,” said Stephenson.
The Flying Leopards’ new star guard is one of many former NBA players who will join top teams as a foreign import player in The Terrific 12. After signing with the Leopards earlier this offseason, Stephenson is ready for his debut with the club and intends to bring The Terrific 12 trophy to Liaoning. “Our plan is to win the championship, so that momentum will help us as a club heading into the regular season.”, he said.
Castro, however, is unfazed and vowed to show what Filipinos can do. “I’m going to show them what speed really looks like. They’ll never see me coming. We’re going to show these other teams how the PBA does things.”
TNT is hiring the services of KJ McDaniels, is a legitimate NBA veteran, and 2016 NBL MVP McKenzie Moore as their Terrific 12 imports.
San Miguel Beer, on the other hand, is tabbed to face last year’s champion, The Ryukyu Golden Kings and the Ryukyu Golden Kings. This sets key positional matchups between Shenzhen 7-foot big man, Li Muhao, and June Mar Fajardo and Terrence Romeo against last year’s MVP Ryuichi Kishimoto.
“I really look forward to going up against Filipino big man, June Mar Fajardo. He’s a legendary player, but I don’t think he knows what he’s getting himself into.”, said Li Muhao
The Kraken responded with “We’ve got a pretty tough group. We’ll be up against some strong big men, especially the guys from Shenzhen. But, we’ve seen it all in terms of competition and will be relying on our team effort and championship experience to carry us through.”
Terrence Romeo, on his part, is intrigued with his matchup against Japan’s Ryuichi Kishimoto. “I really feel like I’m on my game and the experience with San Miguel enhanced my skills and confidence. Ryuichi Kishimoto is good so it will be an interesting matchup individually and a team basis.”, he said.
The Beermen will be parading G-League veteran Dez Wells and Lester Prosper, the import who made a splash for Columbian Dyip in the Commissioner’s Cup.
Blackwater, who is tapping PBA Best Import and two-time PBA champion Marqus Blakely and the returning Alex Stepheson, who led the Elite to a 4-0 start in the Commissioner’s Cup, is the third PBA team seeing action in the tournament.
They are joined by Zhejiang Guangsha Lions from China, Chiba Jets, Niigata Albirex and Utsunomiya Brex from Japan; and Jeonju KCC Egis and Seoul SK Knights from Korea in the much-awaited toe-to-toe of some of the best basketball teams in the region.
The Terrific 12 presents an opportunity to showcase respective leagues and players to basketball fans in other geographies. Each club will clash with new challengers they’ve never faced before and the diversity of opponents is expected to galvanize player development and improve club performance.
By: Armando M. Bolislis