AFTER a lengthy two-month break, the Philippine Basketball Association is back in action.
The 41st season of the PBA continues as the season-ending 2016 Governors’ Cup kicks off with an intriguing double-header, featuring two squads considered as contenders and two teams looking to see some improvement after disappointing campaigns last conference.
In the conference opener, Meralco goes head-to-head with revamped Phoenix Petroleum at 4:15 p.m., followed by a clash between Star and Mahindra in the nightcap at 7 p.m. at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Following a successful campaign in the Commissioner’s Cup wherein they reached the semifinals for the second time in franchise history, the Bolts are looking to capitalize and continue their growth.
They will parade returning import Allen Durham and Iran’s Mohammad Jamshidi as its Asian import to reinforce them.
Meralco will face a rebuilt Phoenix, which was involved in tons of trades in the off-season as well as a coaching change.
The Fuel Masters, now coached by Ariel Vanguardia, will have new faces on their roster such as recently acquired Ronjay Buenafe, Simon Enciso, Norbert Torres and Mark Borboran.
Phoenix also acquired veteran gunman Cyrus Baguio in exchange for two future second-round picks. Like the other Phoenix newbies, he is expected to suit up right away as well.
Along with those newcomers, Phoenix will have help from import Marcus Simmons and Asian import Lee Kwan Hee.
The Hotshots also made some moves in an attempt to get better. Though they will once again have resident import Marqus Blakely back in harness to lead the team, Star now has vastly improving guard RR Garcia for more firepower.
Star will take on a Mahindra team that has James White as its import and Iran’s Iman Zandi as its Asian reinforcement.
(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
4:15 p.m. – Meralco vs. Phoenix
7 p.m. – Star vs. Mahindra