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Beermen vs Hotshots opens PBA 42nd season

Alex Cabagnot and SMB will have their hands full against PJ Simon and the Hotshots on opening night of the PBA 42nd season. PBA Media Bureau (file photo) 
By Ricky Manliguis

MANILA--San Miguel opens its three-peat drive against sister team Star Hotshots as the 42nd season of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) kicks off this Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

Gametime will be at 6:15 p.m., right after the opening ceremonies.

The Beermen, which rallied from a 0-3 deficit to snatch its second Philippine Cup title last season, will parade a retooled line-up featuring three new acquistions in tackling the Hotshots, playing its first game in the post-James Yap era.

Leo Austria's men will have the core of three-time league MVP June Mar Fajardo, Arwind Santos, Chris Ross, and Alex Cabagnot, plus new faces Arnold Van Opstal, Rashawn McCarthy, RR Garcia, and Keith Agovida.

Paul Lee, obtained in a trade from Rain Or Shine that sent two-time MVP Yap to the Asian Coatings franchise, will banner the Hotshots, now to be handled by coach Chito Victolero.

Also expected to debut for Star are Gilas cadet Jiovani Jalalon and bigman Aldrech Ramos, acquired from Mahindra.

Prized rookies Mac Belo and Raphael Banal will have their much-anticipated debuts as Blackwater tackles Phoenix Petroleum in the first game on Nov. 23, right before Rain or Shine and TNT Katropa, two teams on the road to rebuilding, meet at 7 p.m.

Mahindra Floodbuster trade baskets with Terrence Romeo and the rest of GlobalPort and Alaska faces coach Yeng Guiao's NLEX on Nov. 26.

Governor's Cup finalists Barangay Ginebra and Meralco take on separate rivals on Nov. 27 to cap off the opening week. The Bolts meet the Elite at 4:15 p.m., right before the Ginebra-TNT tussle in the nightcap.

All opening week games will be at the Big Dome.

Alaska and San Miguel, meanwhile, meet for the first time in a finals rematch on Dec. 3 also at the Big Dome.

Cagayan de Oro City will host the first of six out-of-town games this season on Dec. 17, with a match between SMB and NLEX. Other out-of-town venues will be Antipolo, Lanao Del Norte, Iloilo, Cebu, and Angeles City.

There will also be scheduled games on Christmas Day, highlighted by the Manila Clasico showdown between the Kings and the Hotshots. Mahindra and Blackwater will meet in the curtain-raiser.

For this conference, all teams play a single-round robin format, with the top two teams automatically advance to the semifinals. The next eight squads enter a double-phased quarterfinal round, with the survivors meeting the two semifinalists in a best-of seven affair.

Semifinal winners will then play a best-of-seven finals series.

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