MAC Cardona marks his return to the PBA as he banners a Zamboanga Valientes side that sees action in the maiden PBA 3x3 Lakas Ng Tatlo which gets going on Saturday at the Ynares Sports Arena.
The 40-year-old Cardona, a former Best Player of the Conference, last saw action in the league in 2017 with NorthPort Batang Pier.
Now he takes his act in the three-a-side meet as part of an experienced Valientes squad that takes on fellow guest team and contender Platinum Karaoke at 2:25 p.m. in one of 17 games during the opener that will have all 13 teams seeing action.
Cardona is joined by JR Cawaling, Kyle Neypes, and last-minute substitute Al Daser Esa, who replaces the injured Gino Jumao-As, at Zamboanga, while Platinum Karaoke is composed of top 3x3 players Karl Dehesa, Chris De Chavez, JR Alabanza, and Yutien Andrada.
With the Zamboanga Valientes and Platinum Karaoke in Pool A are the Purefoods TJ Titans, Limitless Appmasters of Phoenix, and TnT Tropang Giga.
PBA 3x3 opens
The Titans and Appmasters open hostilities right away at 2 p.m. as the league decided to do away with the traditional opening ceremony.
Barangay Ginebra opens action in Pool B as it takes on Sista Super Sealers at 2:50 p.m. followed by the game between the Larry Fonacier-led Cavitex Braves against another guest team Pioneer Pro Tibay in Pool C at 3:15 p.m.
Making their respective debuts later in the day are TnT Tropang Giga with Fil-Am Jeremiah Gray, Terrafirma 3x3, NorthPort Batang Pier, Meralco Bolts, and the San Miguel Beermen.
The Tropang Giga face the Appmasters at 3:40 p.m. (Pool A), before the Dyip take the floor opposite the Kings an hour after in Pool B.
Afterwards, the Batang Pier make their turn at 4:55 p.m. against Pioneer Pro Tibay (Pool C), followed by the Bolts against Sista Super Sealers at 6:10 p.m. (Pool B), and finally the Beermen versus the Batang Pier at 6:35 p.m. (Pool C).
The remaining games in the eliminations will be held Sunday, followed shortly by the knockout stage.
The top three teams in Pool A (five teams) and top two teams in Pools B (four teams) and C (four teams) will advance to the knockout playoffs, while the eighth and final berth will be disputed by the third best team in Pool B and C, respectively in a do-or-die outing.
The quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals are all knockout games.