4 weekly play days among highlights of PBA Season 39
SYDNEY – Titleholders San Mig Coffee, Talk n Text and Alaska Milk play separate foes in three interesting matches set in three major cities back home as PBA Season 39, a season of celebration, unwraps on Nov. 17.
Governors Cup champ San Mig Coffee clashes with Barangay Ginebra in Manila, Philippine Cup titlist Talk n Text collides with Meralco in Cebu while Commissioner’s Cup ruler Alaska Milk tangles with Rain or Shine in Davao in a grand opener of the 2013-14 PBA wars – a yearlong festivities celebrating the renaissance of Philippine basketball.
Several innovations and landmark activities are in store in the season, including the send-off for Gilas Pilipinas that competes in the 17th FIBA World Cup in Spain.
Of course, members of the national squad play for their respective PBA mother teams before regrouping as band of brothers for the world meet – the country’s first in 36 years.
To open a window of time for the Nationals to prepare for a respectable showing in the world joust, the PBA has calendared a four-playdate-in-a-week (Sundays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays) schedule all season long.
The league sticks with the surefire three-conference format featuring one long all-Filipino tourney and two import-laced sprints (the Commissioner’s and the Governors Cups).
The PBA board of governors, in its planning session at The Westin Hotel here in downtown Sydney, has also approved the height limits for the imports in the second and third conferences.
On the sidelines of the board meeting Wednesday morning, Globalport and Petron Blaze agreed on a one-on-one player swap involving Chris Ross and Denok Miranda.
The height ceilings won’t prevent expected comeback by Best Import winners Eric Dozier (Alaska) and Marqus Blakely (San Mig Coffee).
Alaska board representative Dickie Bachmann fought for the 6-foot-9 cap in the Commissioner’s Cup, admitting they’re looking at bringing back Dozier.
San Mig Coffee’s Rene Pardo, meanwhile, said Blakely would surely be back for another tour of duty in the PBA unless he finds his way back to the NBA.
An innovation in height limit for imports in the second conference is the “equalizer rule.”
“To further equalize or balance the strength of the 10 teams, last two placers in the Philippine Cup will be allowed to field an import with a limit of 6-foot-11 in the Commissioner’s Cup,” said commissioner Chito Salud.
The long all-Filipino tourney features an inter-intra format in the eliminations where competing teams play 14 games each. The top eight advance to the playoff stage.
It calls for the division of the 10 teams into two groups. Groupmates play just once and play teams from the other group twice. Air21, Alaska, Barangay Ginebra, Petron and Rain or Shine make Group A while Barako Bull, Globalport, Meralco, San Mig Coffee and Talk n Text compose Group B.
It’s the same format used in the last Philippine Cup ending with Talk n Text completing “an All-Filipino three-peat” on a four-game sweep of Rain or Shine in the finals.