Ginebra, Rain or Shine open PBA’s 37th season
MANILA, Philippines—Crowd-darling Barangay Ginebra and Rain or Shine provide the opening fireworks in the 37th Season of the Philippine Basketball Association when they clash Sunday night to open the Philippine Cup eliminations at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.
The Gin Kings will be led by their usual high-scoring guard rotation, while the Elasto Painters unveil rookie Paul Lee in the only game set at 6 p.m., which comes after elaborate opening ceremonies set at 4 p.m.
Included in the ceremonies is the induction of four-time MVP Alvin Patrimonio, former super import Billy Ray Bates and Grand Slam-winning coach Tommy Manotoc into the Hall of Fame, along with four others including former MVP Freddie Hubalde.
Lee was picked second overall by the Painters in the recent Draft, and all eyes will be on the former University of the East ace, regarded as the best talent who refused to suit up for the Smart Gilas program.
“[Lee’s] a very intelligent player and he will definitely play a major role in our campaign this year,” said team manager Andy Jao.
Mark Caguioa, Mike Cortez and the veteran Jay-Jay Helterbrand will continue to be the main cogs of the Kings, who will have Siot Tanquingcen calling the shots vice the veteran Jong Uichico.
Meanwhile, Chot Reyes, the Talk ‘N Text coach who missed a historic Grand Slam by just one victory last season, formally offered a “hand of reconciliation” to Petron Blaze’s Ato Agustin and Rain or Shine’s Yeng Guiao Friday.
Reyes did so after accepting his award as Coach of the Year from the PBA Press Corps in its 19th Annual Awards Friday night at the Topaz Room of the Gateway Suites in Cubao.
“There are only 10 of us (PBA head coaches) in a nation of more than 90 million basketball-crazy Filipinos,” Reyes said in his speech. “So it’s OK if we are enemies on the court, but off of it, let’s be friends.
His rift with Agustin started in the Finals of this tournament last year, while he had his thorny moment with Guiao only three days ago in a practice game with the Painters.
Only two teams will be eliminated in this tournament where each squad will get to play a total of 14 elimination round games.
Notes: Adding excitement to the launch of the PBA opening is the league’s new partnership with AKTV on IBC 13, the country’s first free-to-air sports channel. AKTV viewers will also have the chance to win tickets to the Black Eyed Peas concert at the SM Mall of Asia on October 25 by texting their answers to trivia questions that will be flashed on air. Radio listeners can also get to hear the action on Sports Radio 918 AM. Catch the games live every Wednesday and Fridays starting at 5:30 p.m. and on Sundays from 4 p.m.
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