PBA marks grand milestone with fitting season of celebrations

SEOUL, Korea – With a performance to remember in the World Cup, entry of three new teams and a slew of promising rookies, the Philippine Basketball Association marks a grand milestone – Year 40 – with a fitting season of celebrations starting Oct. 19 at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan.

It’s a 10-month season calendar kicked off by an exciting double-header on opening day pitting expansion teams Kia Motors versus Blackwater Sports and old rivals Barangay Ginebra and Talk n Text.

The season proper will be ushered in by the Chairman’s Ball on Oct. 14 at the Resorts World Manila – a blue-ribbon affair gathering together PBA officials, players and their families.

Coinciding the event is the premier showing of the PBA documentary titled “A Nation’s Passion.”

PBA board chairman Patrick Gregorio and commissioner Chito Salud announced the season calendar after Day One of their planning session at the Novotel Ambassador Gangnam Hotel here.

“It’s an exciting season,” said Gregorio presiding the summit also attended by vice chairman Robert Non of San Miguel Beer, San Mig Coffee’s Rene Pardo, Ginebra’s Alfrancis Chua, Meralco’s Al Panlilio and Ryan Gregorio, Globalport’s Erick Arejola, Alaska’s Dickie Bachmann, Barako Bull’s Manny Alvarez, Rain or Shine’s Mert Mondragon, NLEX’s Ramon Fernandez, Kia’s Ginia Domingo and Blackwater’s Dioceldo Sy, Silliman Sy and Wilbert Loa.

In the sideline of their planning session, the PBA officials watch some of the 17th Asian Games competitions participated in by Filipino athletes.

On Tuesday night, they were to cheer for Filipino boxers under the Amateur Boxing Association of the Philippines where Gregorio serves as secretary general.

Upon their return to Manila, the PBA board faces the sports media in the media launch of PBA Season 40 at Shangri-La Edsa Hotel on Oct. 7.

And on Oct. 19, the much-awaited PBA Season 40 finally gets underway, a yearlong celebration also highlighted by grand festivities on April 8 where the league honors its 40 greatest players of all time.

The league is sticking with its three-conference format starting with the Philippine Cup followed by two import-laced tourneys.

A new innovation is a handicapping system for imports in the Commissioner’s Cup and in the Governors Cup.

The top eight after the elimination round of the Philippine Cup will be playing with imports with a height limit of 6-foot-9 in the second conference. The bottom four will be allowed imports of unlimited height.

For the Governors Cup, the handicapping will be based on the performances of the teams in the first two conferences. The top eight will play with imports with a height ceiling of 6-foot-5. The bottom four are allowed imports of unlimited height.(pr)

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