MANILA, Philippines – The 38th season of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) will get off to a smashing start as perennial crowd favorites Barangay Ginebra take on newcomer Global Port in the first game of the season Sunday afternoon at the Araneta Coliseum.
Ginebra and Global Port will clash at 6 p.m. following the season's opening rites, which start at 4:30 p.m.
The game will see a match-up of the league's top guards, with Ginebra’s Mark Caguioa and JayJay Helterbrand facing off against Global Port’s Gary David and Willie Miller.
"We have to focus on playing fundamentally sound basketball with a premium on defense and sharing the ball offensively," Ginebra head coach Siot Tanquingcen told PBA.ph.
"Maganda ang outlook ng team, pero kailangan namin makapag-jell ng maayos," he added.
Ginebra's line-up will also feature LA Tenorio, who was acquired via a blockbuster trade in the off-season. Exciting rookies Chris Ellis and Keith Jensen are also expected to make an impact.
Meanwhile, GlobalPort owner Mikee Romero said their first game will be an "early baptism of fire."
"David and Miller will be our main men. Ang problema, we didn't have enough preparation for our first game with the two guys," Romero admitted.
Aside from David and Miller, GlobalPort will rely on Powerade holdovers Rabeh Al-Hussaini, Rudy Lingganay, Romel Adducul and Josh Vanlandingham, along with rookies Vic Manuel and Jason Deutchman.
But Romero is realistic about his team's chances. The businessman admitted that it will be difficult for his team to win a championship this season, as they are the league's newest franchise. He said he will be happy to see his team play close games.
"At least, kung close game, may chance kami manilat," he said.
GlobalPort’s coaching staff is headed by Glenn Capacio with Joe Lipa as a consultant, and Ricky Dandan, Johnedel Cardel, Louie Gonzales and Charles Tiu as assistant coaches.
But before the much-awaited clash, the PBA will first officially open its season with an elaborate opening ceremony featuring a parade of muses from each team.
The league will also fete the men's national basketball team, Smart Gilas Pilipinas II, along with head coach Chot Reyes and his staff after the squad’s performances in the Jones Cup and the FIBA Asia Cup.