THE San Miguel Beermen kick off their Philippine Cup title defense right away on opening day of the PBA’s 43rd season on December 17 as they battle the rejigged Phoenix Fuel Masters at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The lone game on opener is set at 6:45 pm after the elaborate opening ceremony highlighted by the traditional parade of teams and their respective muses.
The match will see the debut of veteran Louie Alas as new Phoenix coach and rookie Jason Perkins, tapped no. 5 overall pick by the Fuel Masters in the last draft.
The Beermen still won't have top overall pick Christian Standhardinger, but will parade once again the core of Chris Ross, Alex Cabagnot, Marcio Lassiter, Arwind Santos, and four-time MVP June Mar Fajardo as they bid to become the first-ever team in league history to win the all-Filipino title four straight times.
The next playing date on Wednesday (Dec. 20), highly-touted rookie Kiefer Ravena makes his debut for NLEX as it battles KIA Picanto in the first game of a doubleheader at San Juan Arena. Magnolia Hotshots take on the Alaska Aces in the 7 pm main game.
On the third playing day, Blackwater takes on Meralco at the Astrodome in the opening match, capped by the TnT Katropa-Rain or Shine duel in the second game.
The league then goes back to the Philippine Arena on Christmas Day when Barangay Ginebra makes its debut against rival Magnolia. NLEX goes up against debuting GlobalPort in the 3 pm curtain raiser.