TERRIFIC 12: Ryukyu's champion coach eager to face PBA teams
Paul Lintag on Sep 25, 2018 12:14 PM
Ryukyu's Norio Sassa, whose Golden Kings started their title run in the Terrific 12 with a 28-point beating of the iECO Green Warriors, hopes that maybe in the next Asia League tournament, more PBA teams can participate in the Asia League. (Power Sport Images)
Asia League's top boss is not the only one longing for PBA teams.
The champion coach of the recently-concluded Terrific 12 in Macau, who demolished a Philippine team by the way, is looking forward to meeting actual PBA teams in the future.
Ryukyu's Norio Sassa, whose Golden Kings started their title run in the Terrific 12 with a 28-point beating of the iECO Green Warriors, hopes that maybe in the next Asia League tournament, more PBA teams can participate.
"I hope that next season, those PBA teams can come in," Sassa said.
"But not only the PBA teams but all in Asia. Asia's a very big continent. I think one of the great things in basketball is you get together and we can experience each other's cultures," he added.
It's not like the PBA has ignored the Asia League completely though. PBA Commissioner Willie Marcial and Asia League CEO Matt Beyer have communicated before.
In the Super 8 back in July, two PBA teams even competed in Blackwater and NLEX. Both teams finished 2-1 in group play and the Road Warriors even made the semifinals.
However, the reason NLEX and Blackwater made the Super 8 was because they were eliminated early from the Commissioner's Cup and used the tournament in preparation for the Governors' Cup.
The PBA's season-ending conference is currenrly ongoing and so no PBA teams competed in the Terrific 12.
Still, there's no doubt that the PBA can greatly elevate the level of play in the Asia League. Matt Beyer wants that and Norio Sassa knows it will happen.
Sassa has been part of the Akatsuki Five's coaching staff before and he knows, thanks to facing Gilas Pilipinas multiple times, that Filipinos can play.
"Actually, I've been in the national team in Japan and we've fought against the Philippines a lot," Sassa said.
"The Philippines is one of the teams I really like," he added.
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