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    It’s TNT KaTropa against Barangay Ginebra in PBA season-opener

    Jan 8, 2019

    TNT faces Ginebra in the lone opening-day game to usher in the 2019 PBA Philippine Cup on Sunday at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.

    The duel between rival MVP and SMC teams kick off the festivities as the league opens its 44th season inside the world's largest indoor arena, a first since 2014.

    Coming off a controversial breakup with Terrence Romeo, the KaTropa aim to turn a new leaf with main man Jayson Castro still at the forefront with head coach Bong Ravena and team consultant Mark Dickel steering the wheel.

    Among the new faces for TNT this upcoming conference will be bruising big man Michael Miranda, playmaker Brian Heruela and forward David Semerad.

    But it would have its hands full taking down the crowd favorites Gin Kings.

    LA Tenorio, still going strong in his 13th season, partners with Scottie Thompson as the Ginebra's anchors on offense, while twin towers Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar man the paint for coach Tim Cone.

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    The traditional opening ceremony and the parade of teams raise the curtain for the eventful day, which will also see the league hold The Leo Awards, honoring the top performers of the past season with San Miguel center June Mar Fajardo poised to claim his record-setting fifth straight Most Valuable Player award.

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    Curiously, it was also these two teams which faced off the last time the league opened doors at the Bocaue venue. Expansion teams Blackwater and Kia (now Columbian), with playing-coach Manny Pacquiao suiting up in that tiff, served as the appetizer for that game day back at October 19, 2014.

    The league is expected to release the full schedule for the all-Filipino conference on Tuesday.

    Aside from the opening day matchup, Ginebra and Rain or Shine are already booked to tussle in Guam come January 19, making up for the game that was postponed last October.

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