Manila, Philippines – Global Port, the Philippine Basketball Association’s newest member team, will have its baptism of fire right on opening day of the 38th Season with no less than crowd-favorite Barangay Ginebra testing its mettle on Sept. 30.
The PBA Commissioner’s Office formally announced yesterday the first game of the season pitting the Kings and Batang Pier right after the extrava gant opening ceremony and the traditional parade of teams at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Global Port, owned by Sultan 900 Capital Inc. under Mikee Romero, purchased the franchise of Powerade from the Coca-Cola Philippines Inc. for P100 million two by the PBA Board of Governors recently.
With that, Batang Pier acquired a team powered by Gary David, the Best Player of the Philippine Cup who led the Tigers to the all-Filipino finals last season.
This season, David will have former two-time Most Valuable Player (MVP) Willie Miller as partner, who was obtained in an off-season trade. That combination of David-Miller is expected to give Global Port an explosive backcourt.
However, Ginebra also so lidified its own guard rotation when it netted coveted point guard LA Tenorio, who will team up with last season’s MVP Mark Caguioa, holdovers Mike Cortez, Jayjay Helterbrand, and sophomores Dylan Ababou and Allein Maliksi.
Aside from that, also to watch out are the rookies of both teams.
Ginebra will parade Fil-Ams Chris Ellis and Keith Jensen, the No. 6 and 8 picks of the Kings in the last Rookie Draft, while Global Port will have former PBA D-League MVP Vic Manuel and Fil-Am forward Jason Deutchmann, who were taken 9th and 10th in the Draft.
Meanwhile, Talk ‘N Text’s Japeth Aguilar is likely to miss the RP Cup after he received invitation to attend the NBA D-League’s Bakersfield Jam’s training camp set in early October, said Aguilar’s agent Marvin Espiritu yesterday.
According to Espiritu, Aguilar was impressive in his open tryout last Sept. 8 and 9, which was attended by several scouts from the D-League.
“One of the teams that expressed interest on Japeth was the Bakersfield Jam, a team which has affiliation with NBA teams LA Clippers, Phoenix Suns and Toronto Raptors,” Espiritu said when contacted by the Bulletin.
The 6-foot-9 Aguilar will also attend a try-out with the Los Angeles D-Fenders, which has rescheduled it on Sept. 14 to 16.
Aguilar’s contract with TNT had expired last month, but the Tropang Texters, who owns the right on Aguilar, have a standing offer of a maximum salary of approximately P5 million for one year. Espiritu said that if Aguilar makes the cut in the ﬁ nal roster after the training camp, Aguilar may sign with the D-League team in Bakersfield.
“He’s motivated with what he’s doing. It’s like a ‘now or never’ for him in his NBA dream. Because he feels that if he makes it to the D-League, it may open the doors for him to make it to the NBA,” Espiritu said.
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