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PBA: Road Warriors, Aces clash in ‘Govs’ opener

The Alaska Aces and NLEX Road Warriors hope to start the season-ending conference on a bright note as they face off in the opener of the PBA Governors’ Cup slated July 19 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Both teams clash in the featured game at 7 p.m. after the Phoenix Fuel Masters, quarterfinalist in both the Philippine and Commissioner’s Cups, and Kia Picanto (formerly Mahindra Floodbuster) unfurl the curtains at 4:15 p.m.

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Alaska is hoping to rebound from a stunning collapse in the Commissioner’s Cup when it lost eight straight games after a 4-0 start to miss out on a quarterfinals berth.

NLEX, on the other hand, went 2-9 in coach Yeng Guiao’s second conference, but ended the tourney with two straight victories following the acquisitions of JR Quiñahan and Alex Mallari via separate trades.

The Aces will parade returning import Buck Henton while the Road Warriors will be reinforced Aaron Fuller.

Phoenix is bringing back Eugene Phelps, nicknamed “El Destructor”, for the third conference, hoping that his usual dominance would propel the Fuel Masters to get past the quarterfinals after three successive tries.

Chane Behanan, a member of Louisville’s 2013 US NCAA championship team, is Kia’s import.

Crowd favorite begins its defense of the crown on July 23 against Meralco, the team it beat in last year’s finals on a buzzer-beating three by import Justin Brownlee.

Brownlee suits up for the second straight conference after Ginebra was eliminated by TNT KaTropa in the semifinals while reigning Best Import Allein Durham returns for Meralco, looking to get a shot at redemption.

The Ginebra encounter will actually be Meralco’s second game, as it will start the conference against Blackwater on July 21, the same day that will see the face-off between Rain or Shine and GlobalPort.