Beermen, Hotshots clash in PBA Season 45 opener
A collision between the San Miguel Beermen and the Magnolia Hotshots will usher in the new PBA season.
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Beermen, Hotshots clash in PBA Season 45 opener
Nelson Beltran ( - January 31, 2020 - 1:18pm

MILAN – Reigning Philippine Cup five-peat champion San Miguel Beer and 2019 All-Filipino finalist Magnolia clash on March 1 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum to kick off a season-long hoopla in celebration of the 45th season of the Philippine Basketball Association.

As what has long become a tradition, the country’s premier cage league holds the all-Filipino tourney to open the season. But PBA Season 45 will be a season like no other especially with the launch of the PBA 3x3 tourney in March.

It’s one of the key items passed by the PBA board of governors in its planning session at Rosa Grand Milan here, along with the extension of the tenure of Willie Marcial as league commissioner all the way to 2024.

“It’s a fruitful meeting,” said PBA board chairman Ricky Vargas at the end of the summit.

“It’s difficult to manage but happy. In the end, everybody was happy,” added Vargas, presiding the conference attended by governors Al Panlilio of Meralco, Alfrancis Chua of Ginebra, Bobby Rosales of Columbian Dyip, Dickie Bachmann of Alaska, Erick Arejola of NorthPort, Mert Mondragon of Rain or Shine, Raymond Zorrilla of Phoenix, Rene Pardo of Magnolia, Robert Non of SMB, Rod Franco of NLEX and Silliman Sy of Blackwater, deputy commissioner Eric Castro, and PBA mancom members Atty. Melvin Mendoza (legal), Odessa Encarnacion (finance) and Gelo Serrano (marketing).

They discussed the “marquee programs” of the commissioner, the referees’ program and their financial goals for 2020 aside from giving their stamp of approval on the season calendar running all the way to January 2021.

It’s a long season where the league will continue to fully support the national team program geared at preparing the Nationals to be at their best for the 2023 World Cup.

The PBA is also helping the national 3x3 program, allowing the inclusion of SEAG gold-medal winners CJ Perez, Moala Tautuaa, Chris Newsome and Jason Perkins to the current pool.

There’s the earlier participation of PBA players to Gilas in the February opening window of the FIBA Asia Championship qualifier.

Then comes the start of a busy PBA season that may include games in the US mainland, Dubai and Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

The Season 44 Leo Awards night ushers in Season 45 inaugurals that will include a tribute to Kobe Bryant, the late NBA superstar who’s a seven-time Manila visitor.

“He touched our hearts, he touched the hearts of the Filipino fans,” said Vargas.

After the all-Filipino, the league presents the Commissioner’s Cup from June 24 with a height ceiling of 6-foot-10 for the imports then the Governors Cup from Oct. 11 to January 2021 with a height cap of 6-foot-5 for the reinforcements. The PBA All-Star spectacle is set July 10-12 in Passi, Iloilo. 

Five provincial games are slated in the Philippine Cup and more in the next two conferences. In all these road showdowns, the league brings out exhibits featuring photos and memorabilia of PBA stars.

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