It is the opening day of the 2016 PBA Governors' Cup. While you still ain't over the Golden State Warriors' collapse, Gilas Pilipinas' curtain call, and all the shocking player movements in the NBA, aren't you pleased that we'll get to watch quality Pinoy basketball again?
Whether you're looking forward to a certain team extending its "kangkong "streak or the first senator to convert a three-point shot since Jawo, there is a surplus of reasons to be excited about this PBA tournament. Here are eight things that will make the local big league worth watching:
1) Hulking imports
A reinforced conference is synonymous with these terms: unbelievable scoring binges (Tyler Wilkerson vs Al Thornton), on- and off-court drama (Renaldo Balkman, Daniel Orton), and basically, big dudes. All that aside, expect the level of competition heightened (pun intended) every time foreign players are involved.
Here the confirmed imports for each team:
Barangay Ginebra San Miguel – Paul Harris
NLEX Road Warriors - Bill Walker
Mahindra Enforcers – James White
Blackwater Elite – Eric Dawson
San Miguel Beermen – Arizona Reid
Star Hotshots – Marqus Blakely
Globalport Batang Pier – Dominic Sutton
Meralco Bolts – Allen Durham
Rain or Shine Elasto Painters –Dior Lowhorn
Alaska Aces – LaDontae Henton
Talk 'N Text Tropang Texters – Mario Little
Phoenix Fuel Masters – Marcus Simmons
2) Calvin Abueva, back with a vengeance
Despite being named Best Player of the Conference (BPC) in the PBA Commissioner's Cup, it has not been a good past couple of months for The Beast. First, ROS went on to win it all against his Aces, then he was denied a spot in the Gilas lineup for the recently concluded FIBA Olympic Qualifying Tournament held in Manila. We wouldn't want to be on the opposing team once Abueva vents his ire on the court.
3) Will it rain or shine for the Elasto Painters?
Coach Yeng Guiao and his boys proved the last time around that team basketball trumps all. Will it be the same colorful ending for the "star-less" squad, especially with a new import in tow?
4) San Miguel needs a health Beeracle
The lack of bodies during the Beermen's practice last July 8 is definitely a cause of concern for the defending champions. June Mar Fajardo hasn't moved on from that FIBA OQT ouster, while Arwind Santos, Gabby Espinas, Yancy de Ocampo, and Chris Lutz are still nursing injuries. Hopefully the whole team can recover in time for another productive run.
5) Phoenix (Suns) Fuel Masters?
Coach Ariel Vanguardia is bent on adapting the run-and-gun system of his team's NBA namesake, Mike D'Antoni's 7-seconds-or-less Phoenix Suns. The Fuel Masters' retooling during the season break—acquiring Cyrus Baguio, Ron Jay Buenafe, John Wilson, Mark Cruz, and Simon Enciso—is a clear sign that the franchise is determined to turn its fortunes around.
Meralco gets first crack at Phoenix in the opening game of the Governors' Cup.
6) New faces
The outcome of this conference will partly decide the order of the upcoming Rookie Draft (Philippine Cup - 40%, Commissioner's Cup - 30%, Governors' Cup - 30%). While the draft is somewhat up in the air considering the looming national team cadet program, a handful of promising prospects will still be up for grabs.
7) The Weekend that will be
The PBA All-Star Extravaganza returns to the Big Dome for the first time in seven years, from August 4 to 6. Aside from the usual All-Star festivities, why not let the announcers and courtside reporters participate in some of the annual spectacle's events? Magoo Marjon and Benjie Paras in a three-point shootout a la Ernie Johnson vs Charles Barkley, anyone?
8) Courtside cuties
No caption needed.