MANILA, Philippines – The members of the Philippine Basketball Association’s (PBA) highly regarded 2012 rookie class will get their chance to shine when the new season gets underway this Sunday.
Perennial crowd favorites Barangay Ginebra will open the PBA Philippine Cup at the Araneta Coliseum against GlobalPort Batang Pier in the lone game of the league’s opening night, with the tip-off set for 6 p.m.
Ginebra will parade Chris Ellis and Keith Jensen, both first round picks who are coming in to the game with a lot of hype.
Meanwhile, GlobalPort will feature their own pair of highly touted rookies in Vic Manuel and Jason Deutchman.
“We do expect another stellar year with a bumper crop of rookies coming in for the 2013 season,” PBA Commissioner Chito Salud said, as quoted by the league’s official website.
“And together with the innovation that we have in the format for this year, we expect that our fans will have another fun year,” he added.
On October 3, Petron Blaze will begin their Philippine Cup campaign against Governors Cup champion Rain or Shine.
That match-up is expected to be explosive, with top draft pick June Mar Fajardo suiting up for his very first PBA game. The Elasto Painters, meanwhile, will feature former Smart Gilas Pilipinas skipper Chris Tiiu.
Earlier on October 3, Barako Bull will tangle with Air21.
No. 2 pick Calvin Abueva will make his debut for Alaska on October 5 when the Aces battle San Mig Conffee.
Salud said he expects PBA fans to welcome the new, athletic rookie class with open arms.
“They always want new faces, fresh talent that will continuously challenge the status quo as set by our veterans, and who will continuously elevate the level of play in basketball,” Salud said.
The 2012 Rookie Class is considered as among the deepest draft classes in the history of the league.