SYDNEY - Commissioner Chito Salud said on Wednesday PBA fans will witness a different kind of basketball viewing experience on November 17 when three games will be played across the archipelago to open the pro league's 39th season.
“For the opening, we will have three games. Luzon, Visayas, and Mindanao,” said Salud.
The dynamic league official bared Alaska and Rain or Shine will play their season debuts in Davao City, simultaneous with the game in Cebu between defending champion Talk `N Text and Meralco. Both games will be played at 7:30 p.m.
Meanwhile, San Mig Coffee battles Barangay Ginebra in the lone game at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum following the traditional opening ceremonies.
“Simultaneous 'yang Visayas at Mindanao games. So you have two teams in Cebu, two teams in Davao, and six teams in Manila,” said Salud of unique opening-day offering.
Curiously, Salud said all the games will now be aired on TV5.
“Yes TV5 na ilalabas ang mga games. All the games will be aired on schedule,” he added.
The opening ceremonies will be aired live via TV5, together with the games between Ginebra and San Mig, and Rain or Shine-Alaska in Davao.
The match between Meralco and Talk N’ Text will be aired on a slightly delayed basis, or right after the live broadcast of the Rain or Shine-Alaska encounter.
“That was already agreed upon by our board and our coveror,” Salud said.
The innovations for next season will also include a tweaking of the import format for the Commissioner’s Cup.
The last two teams to finish in the season-opening Philippine Cup will be given the advantage of tapping imports with a height of 6-foot-11, while the rest will be allowed to have imports with a height limit of 6-foot-9.
The Governors’ Cup will have its regular maximum height of 6-foot-5 among imports.
Salud emphasized the Philippine Cup will still be a double round-robin games, while the next two conferences will be single round.
“We want to make all games important. We’re trying to avoid non-bearing games (like we already did the last few conferences),” said Salud. “Fans kasi want to avoid non-bearing games.”
The league will also employ the usual inter-intra format by dividing the 10 teams in two groups.
Comprising Group A will be Air 21, Alaska, Ginebra, Petron, and Rain or Shine, while Group B will be made up of Barako Bull, Globalport, Meralco, San Mig Coffee, and Talk `N Text.
New league chairman Ramon Segismundo is optimistic the league will continue to break records in terms of gate attendance and television ratings.