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    10 things you need to know about the 2023 PBA Governors' Cup

    6 days ago
    Ginebra, Slavoljub Gorunovic, Ethan Rusbatch, James Yap
    Who can dethrone Ginebra? Will Slavoljub Gorunovic make TNT better? Can Converge's Ethan Rusbatch make a solid impression? Is this James Yap's farewell conference?
    PHOTO: Jerome Ascaño | Fiba.basketball

    AFTER only a week, the PBA Season 47 resumes action with 2023 Governors’ Cup. To get you ready for the season-ending conference, we ran down 10 things about the coming tournament, from the schedule, to the imports and new players in different teams.

    What you need to know about the 2023 PBA Governors' Cup

    DURATION: The PBA Governors’ Cup will open on Sunday at the Philsports Arena, after which the conference will hold games from Wednesdays to Sundays as the league compresses its schedule so it could finish earlier to give way to Gilas Pilipinas’ participation in the Southeast Asian Games in May and the Fiba Basketball World Cup in August. The elimination round will run until March 17.

    FIBA WINDOW: Speaking of Fiba, the PBA will not stop play during Window Six of the Fiba Basketball World Cup Asian qualifiers. But the league will still play a role in the formation of Gilas Pilipinas for the two home games after it didn’t schedule games for Barangay Ginebra, San Miguel, and TNT between February 22 and March 1 for the possible inclusion of their players to the national team.


    EASL: Also during the conference, the East Asia Super League Champions Week will be held with San Miguel and TNT joining. The Beermen and the Tropang GIGA won’t have games during the EASL from March 1 to 5.

    ALL-STAR GAMES: The PBA All-Star Weekend will make its return and will be held in Passi, Iloilo. The league has not scheduled games in between March 8 to 15 to accommodate the festivities.

    DEFENDING CHAMPION: Barangay Ginebra is the reigning champion of the Governors’ Cup. The Gin Kings beat Meralco in the 46th season of the conference last April. Ginebra will also come in after taking the Commissioner’s Cup crown midway during the month.

    NEW HEAD COACHES: The Governors’ Cup will see not just new faces on the court but also on the sidelines with four new head coach appointments, one of the most in recent memory. Jorge Gallent has taken over, with Leo Austria sliding to a consultant role at San Miguel. It is a similar case at TNT with team manager Jojo Lastimosa now the head coach, and Chot Reyes now with the senior consultant role as he concentrates on his responsibilities with Gilas Pilipinas. The Tropang GIGA will also have Serbian coach Slavoljub Gorunovic as active consultant.

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    Bonnie Tan and Jamike Jarin, meanwhile, will now be taking the cudgels on an interim basis for NorthPort and Phoenix Super LPG respectively.

    TRADES: Trades also occurred during the offseason heading into the Governors’ Cup with Blackwater getting several pieces with the acquisition of RK Ilagan, Mike DiGregorio, and Tyrus Hill. Converge also made deals in getting Jerrick Balanza and Barkley Ebona, while NorthPort got Joshua Munzon as well as Paul Zamar, who was dealt from San Miguel in exchange of Allyn Bulanadi.

    TNT also got Justin Chua and Paul Varilla in a trade with Phoenix and NLEX with the Fuel Masters taking Raul Soyud and Jayjay Alejandro, and the Road Warriors receiving Jake Pascual and Sean Anthony.

    FREE AGENCY: Signings also occurred during the break, the biggest name being James Yap, who signed a one-conference deal to return to Rain or Shine after his foray into politics. Juami Tiongson, meanwhile, also stayed with Terrafirma after his contract expired at the end of 2022.


    Zamar was actually on the same boat as Tiongson after the Beermen traded their rights on him to the Batang Pier where he eventually signed. Jansen Rios and Christian Balagasay moved places after signing with NLEX and NorthPort respectively.

    Hessed Gabo, meanwhile, got his much-awaited break after he was signed to a deal with NLEX following stints in the regional league.

    COMEBACKING IMPORTS: Of the 12 imports with a height limit of 6-foot-6, six are returning led by Justin Brownlee, who recently led Barangay Ginebra to the 2022 Commissioner’s Cup crown. Also coming back is Shawn Glover (Blackwater) and Du’vaughn Maxwell (Phoenix Super LPG), but KJ McDaniels (Meralco), Michael Qualls (Rain or Shine), and Cameron Clark (San Miguel) are suiting up for different teams this time in the Governors’ Cup.


      FIRST-TIME PBA IMPORTS: Among the newcomers, the one perhaps with the most impressive resume is NLEX’s Jonathon Simmons. Despite being undrafted, Simmons eventually played in the NBA most notably with the San Antonio Spurs and in the Orlando Magic. It was with the Magic where he had his best season after he averaged 13.9 points during the 2017-2018 season.


      Magnolia’s Erik McCree had a brief stint with the Utah Jazz but mostly played in Europe, as is TNT’s Jalen Hudson and Terrafirma’s Jordan Williams.

      Converge’s Ethan Rusbatch is the only non-American from the group, playing in his home land of New Zealand and in Australia’s National Basketball League.

      Marcus Weathers is the youngest in the group with the 25-year-old NorthPort import making his pro debut after suiting up for SMU.

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      Who can dethrone Ginebra? Will Slavoljub Gorunovic make TNT better? Can Converge's Ethan Rusbatch make a solid impression? Is this James Yap's farewell conference?
      PHOTO: Jerome Ascaño | Fiba.basketball
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