IN deference to the plight of our kababayans suffering because of the wrath of super-typhoon Yolanda, the PBA will keep it simple when it opens its 39th season with games in each of the country's major islands on Sunday.
Commissioner Chito Salud on Friday called on each team to be more conservative and refrain from grandeuos acts during the opening rites, which will nonetheless mark a first with games to be played in Davao City, Cebu and at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
"We will dedicate our simple opening rites to all of our kababayan who were affected by Yolanda. We want them to know that they are in our prayers and that the PBA will continue to be of help to them in the long road to normalcy," said Salud in a message sent to media outlets.
"The ferocity of competition they will see on opening day will in no way be reflective of our lack of understanding of what truly matters in life and sympathy for those impacted," he added. "Rather, it will be a showcase of the brave hearts of our players who all want to serve as inspiration to our countrymen at this time."
Still, as in most leagues, the opening will not be complete with the traditional parade of teams and their muses, which this season will have six teams parading at the Big Dome simultaneously with the four ballclubs seeing action in Davao and Cebu.
Crowd favorite Barangay Ginebra will have TV and movie star Marian Rivera as muse while San Mig Coffee will parade with teen rising star Jessy Mendiola in the opening ceremonies before taking on each other in the lone game scheduled at the Big Dome.
Joining them in the Manila rites are Globalport, which will parade Maxene Magalona; Petron, which will have volleyball star Gretchen Ho as muse; Air 21 Express, which will bring in Lauren Young, sister of Miss World Megan Young; and Barako Bull, which will have Czech stunner Tereza Fajksova as muse.
Ho also plays for Petron's team in the Superliga.
Over in Davao, where the Alaska Aces will take on Rain or Shine, the Aces have tapped Mutya ng Davao 2013 Miss Fila Guia Hidalgo as muse while the Painters will have Koreen Medina, the 2013 Mutya ng Asia Pacific.
"We're playing there so we might as well represent them (Davaoenos)," said Alaska team manager Dickie Bachmann.