BARANGAY Ginebra opens its PBA Philippine Cup bid on the road as it battles Blackwater in Balanga, Bataan in the first out of town game for the season.
The lone provincial game on March 14 marks the debut of both ballclubs, although focus will be more on the Kings, who made known their intentions of gunning for the all-Filipino crown following their successful title conquest in the Governors Cup.
But the league’s most popular ballclub also enters the new season without big man Greg Slaughter, who has announced his decision to take a basketball sabbatical.
The match is also expcted to be the first PBA game for No. 2 overall pick (regular draft) Maurice Shaw – the second oldest rookie in league history at 35 – for the Elite.
The league’s 45th season opens on March 8 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, with five-time defending champion San Miguel Beer kicking off their campaign minus premier big man June Mar Fajardo against Magnolia.
Three days after (March 11), TnT Katropa faces Phoenix at 4:30 p.m. followed by the NorthPort-NLEX tussle at 7 pm.
On March 13, three other teams see action for the first time as Alaska takes on a Columbian Dyip side that features the explosive tandem of CJ Perez and top rookie pick (regular draft) Roosevelt Adams in the 4:30 p.m. curtain raiser, while San Miguel tests on the young Rain or Shine squad in the main game at 7 p.m.
Meralco won’t play its first game until March 15 at the Big Dome against the Hotshots.