THE PBA opens its 44th season with a bang by holding an overseas game a week after kicking off hostilities on January 13.
Twice postponed, a game pitting Barangay Ginebra and Rain or Shine will be finally held in Guam on January 19 during the season-opening Philippine Cup.
Commissioner Willie Marcial went to the U.S. territory last week to attend the formal press conference announcing that it's finally all systems go for the staging of the first PBA game in Guam in more than a decade.
The match was originally scheduled last October 13, but visa problems on the part of the league delegation set back the plan.
It was later reset to November, but with the Fiba World Cup qualifier set late in the month, the league can no longer adjust its schedule lest in risk the possibility of holding a game on Dec. 26 if and when the finals of the ongoing Governors Cup goes the full seven-game route.
“Kaya we explained na mahirap kapag November kasi nga may World Cup qualifier. And kung mag Game 7 yung finals, two weeks lang ang magiging break tapos simula na naman ng bagong season. Masyadong dikit yung mga events,” said Marcial.
“It was best talaga na sa All-Filipino na lang yung laro.”
The game was later held in Lucena City which the Elasto Painters won, 104-97.
The league commissioner was accompanied by Barangay Ginebra guard LA Tenorio during the trip along with league new marketing chief Angelo Serrano.
The delegation was personally met by no less than Guam Filipino-American Senator Dennis Rodriguez.
Rain or Shine was also supposed to go with the group to help promote the game, but the team’s successive outings prevented any player or its official from doing so.
“Nag beg off na sumama yung Rain or Shine kasi nga naghahabol sila ng laro kaya sunud-sunod yung schedule nila,” said Marcial.