CEBUANO basketball fans are in for a rare treat as three PBA squads are set to compete in the Mayor Michael L. Rama Sinulog Cup 2013 that kicks off on Thursday at the Cebu Coliseum.
Crowd darlings Barangay Ginebra, Petron Blaze, and Alaska are in town for a single-round tournament that also includes Cebu’s most successful amateur club, the M. Lhuillier Kwarta Padala-Cebu Ninos, and forms part of the PBA teams' buildup for the import-laden Commissioner’s Cup.
Getting the first crack at MLKP will be the Alaska Aces, who are coming off a successful stint in the Philippine Cup where they made it all the way to the semifinals behind the scintillating play of prized rookie Calvin 'The Beast' Abueva along with JV Casio, former Southwestern University Cobra Cyrus Baguio, and Cebuano wingman Dondon Hontiveros. They will have their import, former Miami Heat draftee Robert Dozier, in tow.
They will also feature another Cebuano in the newly acquired Aldrech Ramos, whom they traded for in exchange of Mac Baracael. The latter, coincidentally, will also be in same tournament, for the Kings this time.
Ginebra will be playing in the second game set at 7 p.m., against Petron, which will be bannered by former University of Cebu giant and this year’s top draft pick June Mar Fajardo. The 6-foot-10 center from the municipality of Pinamungahan is expected to show off his ever-improving game before home fans.
Fajardo will be teaming up in the frontcourt with energetic import Renaldo Balkman, the six-year NBA veteran who had stints with the New York Knicks and the Denver Nuggets.
Ginebra will be led by import Herbert Hill and a loaded backcourt led by reigning league MVP Mark Caguioa, LA Tenorio, and former MVP Jayjay Helterbrand. The PBA’s most popular team also has a new bench tactician in Alfrancis Chua.