PBA 41st season finally unfolds tonite
Joey Villar, Nelson Beltran (The Philippine Star) - October 20, 2015 - 10:00am

MANILA, Philippines - With extra preparation following the postponement of their faceoff Sunday, Rain or Shine and Star set out for a fierce duel tonight highlighting the opening day of the 41st PBA season at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City.

The PBA pushes through with the opening ceremonies to be graced by a bevy of beauties as team muses and marked by performances by artists including Ogie Alcasid, Anya Aguilar, Junior New System, Abra and Project Pinoy.

But it will not only be glitz and glamour as the league turns the keenly awaited opener into a fund-raiser with proceeds to go to victims of Typhoon Lando that battered most part of Luzon last weekend and reset the league inaugurals.

“We in the PBA feel for our countrymen who have been affected by the storm. On this note I would like to encourage our basketball fans to come and watch our season opener. You will not just enjoy the game, you will also be helping our kababayans in need,” said PBA board chairman Robert Non.

In the original roster of muses include Miss Global International 2014 second runner-up Catherine Almirante and 13 Miss Global International 2015 candidates for the Hotshots, Mutya ng Pilipinas 2015 first runner-up Julie Ann Marie Bourgoin for Rain or Shine, Ateneo volleyball star Alyssa Valdez for Talk n Text, La Salle volleyball star Mika Reyes for Barako Bull, FHM cover girl Max Collins for Blackwater, Jinkee Pacquiao for Mahindra, triathletes Sam, Tara and Chezka Borlain for Alaska, singer/actress Arci Muñoz for Ginebra, volleyball stars Rachel Ann Daquis and Alexa Micek for San Miguel Beer, artist Karylle for Globalport, Miss Universe Philippines 2014 MJ Lastimosa for NLEX and TV5 actress Eula Caballero for Meralco.

Ceremonies start at 5 p.m. with the event having extra meaning, with its proceeds helping relief efforts for those affected by typhoon Lando.

“This opener will be something different because everyone – from league officials to the players down to the fans – will come there with a purpose and that is to help,” said the league chairman.

The Elasto Painters and the Hotshots, meanwhile, brace for a tough fight in the lone game set at 7 p.m.

The two teams expect each other to be armed to the teeth with the three extra days they’d got to prepare following the postponement of their Sunday match.

Both needed to make some adjustments with Rain or Shine guard Paul Lee suffering an MCL (medial collateral ligament) injury.

With Lee confined on the sideline, Maverick Ahanmisi, the third pick in the recent Rookie Draft, may play extended minutes right in his first games with the Elasto Painters.

Another ROS rookie guard Don Trollano may also get an early exposure.

Rain or Shine coach Yeng Guiao expects a fast-paced battle with the Star squad under new coach Jason Webb.

“It’s in his genes and that showed even while coach Jason was playing,” Guiao pointed out.

“Walang kukurap dahil baka may ma-miss na play. Ratratan iyan (Don’t blink or one may miss an action. It’s going to be a run-and-gun duel),” said Guiao.

“They have (Mark) Barroca, (Justin) Melton, (Alex) Mallari, (Allein) Maliksi and other old reliables like James (Yap) and (PJ) Simon, who can all thrive in a running game,” Guiao added. “They’d got tied up with (former coach Tim Cone’s preferred) triangle offense, and they will surely be so eager to run.”

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