SEOUL, South Korea – Boxing champion Manny Pacquiao’s PBA debut kicks off an explosive opening week for Asia’s first play-for-pay league when it celebrates its 40th year beginning on October 19 at the Philippine Arena.
Pacquiao and his Kia Motors team battle fellow expansion franchise Blackwater in the first game (3 p.m.) of the opening doubleheader, highlighted by the main duel between crowd favorite Barangay Ginebra and Talk `N Text at 5 p.m.
The Kings-Tropang Texters collision marks the first time new Talk `N Text coach Jong Uichico will be up against his former team in Ginebra.
The league released its schedule for the entire eliminations of the Philippine Cup shortly after the end of the annual planning session by the PBA board here.
After Pacquiao, focus shifts to top rookie pick Stanley Pringle when he plays his first game in the league on Tuesday when GlobalPort battles new team NLEX at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum (4:15 p.m.), before Rain or Shine takes on San Miguel Beer in the 7 p.m. match that marks Leo Austria’s coaching debut with the Beermen.
The following day, defending champion San Mig Coffee opens its defense of the All-Filipino title as the Mixers clash with the Alaska Aces in the main match (7 p.m.) also at the Big Dome. The 4:15 p.m. curtain raiser features Meralco, now under coach Norman Black, against Barako Bull.
On Friday (Araneta Coliseum), it’s the battle between sister teams Talk `N Text and NLEX, and Blackwater opposite Rain or Shine.
The league plays its first game on the road Saturday at the Quezon Convention Center in Lucena as Barangay Ginebra tests the mettle of Pacquiao and Kia Motors at 5 p.m.
A week after the opener, Barako Bull goes up against Globalport at 3 p.m. before San Mig collides with San Miguel Beer at 5 p.m.