PBA fans need not wait for the opening of the 40th season on October 19 to see their favorite teams in action.
Starting next month, all 12 ballclubs including expansion teams Blackwater Sports and Kia Motors and newcomer NLEX will see action in different parts of the country in preseason games dubbed 'Liga ng Bayan.'
San Miguel Beer and Rain or Shine open the preseason festivities on September 12 in Angeles City, Pampanga where local pride Arwind Santos and Elasto Painters coach Yeng Guiao are expected to get a warm welcome from their kabalens.
Leo Austria will also make his debut as San Miguel Beer coach in the 6 p.m. game.
On October 4, Manny Pacquiao debuts as Kia coach in a match against Blackwater Sports in Binan, Laguna which will be followed by San Mig Coffee's match and the NLEX Road Warriors.
PBA media bureau chief Willie Marcial bared that Pacquiao may even play in that game if Kia succeeds in drafting him in the August 24 rookie draft.
Crowd favorite Barangay Ginebra returns to action on October 5 in a game against the now Norman Black-mentored Meralco Bolts in Panabo City.
The Kings are expected to return to practice either at CCF gym or Green Meadows both in Libis, Quezon City on August 18, where coach Jeffrey Cariaso is requiring all players to be present.
Former Coca-Cola Tigers governor JB Baylon will host the Palawan game between the Alaska Aces and the Barako Bull on October 10 at the Puerto Princesa Coliseum.
Unlike in the other venues where promoters will charge spectators a minimal fee, Baylon bared that they will open their sponsored game free to the public.
“We will offer the game free to the public. This is part of our corporate social responsibility to the people of Palawan. So I suggest they should come early,” said Baylon, who is now the vice president for corporate affairs of the Rio Tuba Nickel Mining Corporation and Coral Bay Nickel Corporation.
Meralco and San Miguel again see action on October 11 at Ateneo's Blue Eagle Gym in Quezon City, the lone preseason game to be held in Metro Manila.
GlobalPort and Talk 'N Text, now led by Jong Uichico, will wrap up the PBA sanctioned preseason tournement with their showdown in Legazpi City on October 12.
“Regalo natin sa mga fans 'yan. Alam naman natin kung gaano sila nasabik sa mga laro,” said Marcial.
Asked if the games will be televised, Marcial said they are now in the process of coordinating with the league’s official coveror, Sports 5.