DEFENDING champion San Miguel opens its bid for a record fifth straight PBA Philippine Cup title against Columbian Dyip featuring top rookie pick CJ Perez on Jan. 18 at the Cuneta Astrodome.
The 4:30 p.m. match will see prized acquisitions Terrence Romeo and Paul Zamar suiting up for the Beermen, who are looking to score a fifth straight All-Filipino crown.
The game also marks the debut of the 25-year-old Perez, who was tabbed by the Dyip as the top overall pick in last year’s draft.
Two days later (Jan. 20), the Beermen get their first big test of the season as they go up against Barangay Ginebra Kings at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
A week after (Jan. 27), it’s going to be an emotional game especially for Romeo as the three-time defending champion face TnT Katropa also at the Big Dome. This will be the first meeting between the high-scoring Romeo and the Katropa since their controversial falling out in the off-season that led to his trade to San Miguel in exchange for Brian Heruela and David Semerad.
On Feb. 10, San Miguel battles Magnolia Pambansang Manok in a rematch of last year’s Philippine Cup finals protagonists.
The Hotshots won’t be making their debut until Feb. 3 at the Ynares Center in Antipolo, going up against the TnT Katropa.
On that same day, the Alaska Aces also play their first game against the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters, more than a month since tangling with the Hotshots for the Governors Cup championship at the same Antipolo playing venue.
Meanwhile, no. 3 overall pick Robert Bolick plays his first PBA game on Jan. 16 when NorthPort takes on Blackwater at the Big Dome. It could have also served as the debut of second pick Bobby Ray Parks, who unfortunately has yet to sign up with the Elite pending his obligation with Alab Pilipinas in the ASEAN Basketball League.