San Mig Coffee starts defense vs Barako Bull in Commissioner’s CupBy Celest R. Flores
MANILA, Philippines — Head coach Tim Cone and San Mig Coffee opens up their title defense against new look Barako Bull on opening day as the 2013 PBA Commissioner’s Cup kicks off on February 8.
The Mixers, who have import Matt Rogers and two new rookies on deck, battle the Energy, who had four veteran acquisitions over the off-season, at 7:30 p.m. at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.
Globalport and Petron Blaze, two teams raring to turn their fortunes around this year, kick off the festivities at the 5:15 p.m. match at the same venue.
Back-to-back double header affairs round up the opening weekend of the Commissioner’s Cup.
The PBA office released the official schedule for the import-laden, second conference of the season, which features a format like that of the Philippine Cup — but only shorter and high-risk.
None of the 10 teams could afford a slow start as they figure in a swift single-round robin elimination round, with the best eight advancing to the quarterfinals.
The top two teams are given a twice-to-beat edge over the eighth and seventh seeds in the quarterfinals, while the rest of the match-ups pit the third against sixth place and fourth against the fifth seed in a best-of-three duels.
Both the semifinals series and the finale are decided in a best-of-seven showdown as the elimination round ends on March 22.
Alaska, who has tapped Robert Dozier for reinforcement, clashes with last conference runner up Rain or Shine at 5:45 p.m. on February 9 before recent champion Talk N’ Text sees action against Meralco Bolts at 8 p.m.
Crowd darling Barangay Ginebra’s first schedule of the season is against Air 21, also at Smart Araneta Coliseum, at 6:30 p.m. on February 10, after Barako Bull versus Global Port tiff at 4:15 p.m.
The short elimination phase also features road games in Puerto Princesa in Palawan, Tubod in Lanao del Norte, Naga City in Legazpi, Albay, and Panabo inn Davao del Norte.
Aside from Rogers and Dozier, Keith Benson (Talk N’ Text), Bruno Sundov (Rain or Shine), Justin Williams (Globalport), Renaldo Balkman (Petron Blaze), Herbert Hill (Barangay GInebra), Michael Dunigan (Air21), Eric Dawson (Meralco) and Evan Brock (Barako Bull) are all set to strut their wares in March.