PBA Cla­sico' slated on Christ­mas Day

PH Arena to host Gine­bra-Star clash

Tempo - - Front Page - By TITO S. TALAO

LOS AN­GE­LES – Be­fore all hell broke loose in the PBA and seven gover­nors de­cided they needed a new com­mis­sioner while five of their col­leagues said ‘not so fast’, a cou­ple of con­cerns were ham­mered into place hope­fully be­yond de­struc­tive hands.

Un­less the team rep­re­sen­ta­tives go back on an early de­ci­sion, four ball­clubs and their fans will be spend­ing Christ­mas even­ing at the 55,000-ca­pac­ity Philip­pine Arena in Bo­caue, Bu­la­can for the 43rd sea­son’s first Manila Cla­sico en­counter be­tween the Barangay Gine­bra San Miguel Kings and Star Hot­shots.

For good mea­sure, a cur­tain­raiser pit­ting the de­fend­ing Philip­pine Cup cham­pion San Miguel Beer­men against ei­ther the Alaska Aces or the NLEX Road War­riors has been thrown in to raise the energy level past the roof. The Beer­men are go­ing for their fourth con­sec­u­tive PH Cup ti­tle.

The 2017-18 PBA for­mat will re­trace the pre­vi­ous sea­son’s three con­fer­ence blue­print, with the Com­mis­sioner’s Cup, al­low­ing 6-foot-10 im­ports, fol­low­ing the Philip­pine Cup and pre­ced­ing the Gover­nors’ Cup, which is open to re­in­force­ments 6-foot-5 and be­low.

Though five weeks away from the 43rd sea­son in­au­gu­rals on De­cem­ber 17, team sources are al­ready say­ing that it is a cinch Barangay Gine­bra will bring back the prodi­gious Justin Brown­lee for the Gover­nors’ Cup, and per­haps even for the mid­dle con­fer­ence Com­mis­sioner’s Cup, af­ter lead­ing the Kings to back-to-back cham­pi­onships in the sea­so­nen­der.

The ques­tion then is whether the Mer­alco Bolts, fi­nal­ists in the last two Gover­nors’ Cup, will sum­mon for a third tour of duty two-time Best Im­port Allen Durham to com­plete a tril­ogy with his Barangay Gine­bra coun­ter­part or re­cruit a new one.

Also cal­en­dared for next year, sum­mer most prob­a­bly, is the PBA All-Star Week which also fol­low the pre­vi­ous for­mat with games held in Min­danao, the Visayas and Manila.

Last year from April 26-30, as part of the PBA’s com­mit­ment to pre­par­ing the na­tional team, three games were sched­uled to ben­e­fit Gi­las Pilip­inas.

At the Xavier Univer­sity gym in Ca­gayan de Oro, the Philip­pine squad and Min­danao All-Stars bat­tled to a 114-114 draw. Gi­las PH then wal­loped the Lu­zon All-Stars, 122-111, at the Que­zon Con­ven­tion Cen­ter in Lu­cena be­fore wrap­ping it up with a 125-112 vic­tory over the Visayas All-Stars at the Hoops Dome in Cebu.

Davao City has been men­tioned as one of the des­ti­na­tions in next year’s All-Star spec­ta­cle.

The four-day trip to Los An­ge­les now serves as the lull be­fore the storm in Manila as the league gover­nors, in­clud­ing the Group of 5, gather – if and when – to for­mally wel­come the as­cen­sion of in­com­ing chair­man Ra­moncito Fer­nan­dez of NLEX, and the el­e­va­tion of Dickie Bach­mann of Alaska to vice chair­man and Ray­mond Zor­rilla of Phoenix Fuel to trea­surer. Also up for dis­cus­sion are the an­nual bud­get, pro­pos­als from the board, plans and pro­grams as en­vi­sioned by the new chair­man and the fate of PBA com­mis­sioner Chito Nar­vasa.

(Rio Delu­vio)

AN­OTHER record is ex­pected to be bro­ken on Dec. 25 as Gine­bra, led by LA Teno­rio (left), bat­tles archri­val Star, which will be ban­nered by Mark Bar­roca, in a match dubbed as ‘Manila Cla­sico’ at the Philip­pine Arena in Bo­caue, Bu­la­can.

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