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Sports

Expansion teams to usher in PBA’s 40th season

Joey Villar, Nelson Beltran - The Philippine Star

SEOUL, Korea – The PBA’s three new ball clubs – KIA, Blackwater Elite and NLEX – will be featured in PBA Season 40’s first two play dates before fourth-peat champion San Mig Coffee plunges into action, taking on Alaska Milk on Oct. 22 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Mixers, the first team to win four straight crowns in the local pro league in decades, chase a fifth championship with the very same roster that completed a grand slam run last season.

“Why fix it when it ain’t broke. Baka magulo pa ang chemistry kung galawin namin ang lineup,” said Rene Pardo, San Mig Coffee’s representative to the PBA board.

But out in the early goings of the Philippine Cup is Marc Pingris who’s allowed by coach Tim Cone to take some rest following his strenuous stint with Gilas Pilipinas in the World Cup and in the Asian Games.

The Mixers braced for the all-Filipino tourney with a training tour in Korea, like the Globalport Batang Pier.

Meralco and Barako Bull play in the accompanying game on Oct. 22.

The season fires off Oct. 19 at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue, Bulacan with an exciting twinbill pitting Kia Motors versus Blackwater and old rivals Barangay Ginebra opposite Talk n Text.

NLEX makes its own PBA debut against Globalport two days later at the Big Dome. Rain or Shine, runner-up in the Philippine Cup and in the Governors Cup last season, tangles with San Miguel Beer in the day’s main game.

The PBA plays four regular playing days – Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday – plus some out-of-town sorties on Saturdays.

To be visited in the Philippine Cup elims are Lucena, Davao, Cagayan de Oro and Dipolog.

In March, the league holds a two-game series in Dubai, featuring Talk n Text in back-to-back matches against Barangay Ginebra and San Mig Coffee.

In the course of the season, the league will hold clinics all over the country as part of its outreach program.

“All players will be required to conduct a clinic from where they came from or in their localities,” said PBA board chairman Patrick Gregorio.

“They’re heroes in their home towns or in their barangays. We’ll require them to give something back to their respective places of origin,” Gregorio also said. “Fil-Am players can conduct their clinics in Metro Manila.”

ALASKA MILK

ASIAN GAMES

BARANGAY GINEBRA

BARANGAY GINEBRA AND SAN MIG COFFEE

BIG DOME

BLACKWATER ELITE

GILAS PILIPINAS

GLOBALPORT BATANG PIER

PHILIPPINE CUP

SAN MIG COFFEE

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