True to its promise to bring games back to the provinces, the Philippine Basketball Association is opening its 40th season with a pair of explosive out-of-town matches befiore what could be the biggest audience ever in its history.
PBA commissionerr Chito Salud announced recently that a thrilling two-game bill featuring crowd-darling Barangay Ginebra San Miguel and boxing icon Manny Pacquiao’s Kia Motors will usher in the the start of the league’s fourth decade of existence at the cavernous, 55-seat Philippine Arena in Marilao Town in nearby Bulacan.
“Yeah, it’s definite,” Salud declared during the Sports Sabado program aired last Saturday over DZAR Radio and viewed live via streaming at sonshinetvradyo.on.
“And, I’m sure our fans will love this, their favorite team Ginebra and expansion team Kia will be playing in the inaugural day,” he added during the program sponsored by the Philippine Sports Commission and Philippine Charity Sweepstakes Office.
“Pinag-a-aralan pa namin kung paghaharapin namin sila agad. But, difinitely, lalaro ang dalawang team at kung sino ang makakalaban, eh de-desisyonan pa namin yan.”
“With Ginebra still the team most loved by our fans and the entry of Kia and Manny (Pacquiao), I believe it’s not a remolte possibility that we can relive the rivalry between legendary teams Crispa andf Toyota that marked the infant years of the league. And not only Ginebra and Kia, with the presence of two other rookie teams, I, too, believed that games in the coming season will more thrilling, exciting.”
Salud said the opening ceremonies will be a slambang affair with his office planning several surprise packages for its fans, expecially those in the provinces who had been deprived of seeing their favorite teams play because of a shortened 39th season to accommodate the all-PBA Philippine team in its preparation and participation in the recent FIBA World Cup.
Salud made the announcemernt two days following an occular inspection at the Philippine Arena by the league’s technical group, including operations chief Rickie San tos and media director Willie Marical.
No less than 100 airconditoned buses will be made available on opening day while at least six more provincial dates are scheudled in the inaugural Philippine Cup.