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CHRISTMAS CLASICO IN BOCAUE | Ginebra, Star collide in PH Arena for PBA Yuletide treat

PBA (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--For the second straight year, Ginebra and Star will face off on Christmas night.

But this time, the people north of the Big City will get to experience what the "Manila Clasico" is all about.

The PBA officially announced on Thursday that the showdown between the league's crowd darlings will be played at the Philippine Arena in Bocaue on Dec. 25 for its Yuletide treat.

The league eyed at having the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City and the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay, where last year's edition of the "Christmas Clasico" happened, as the venue for the game, but the former will have a circus event while the latter will stage an ice skating show on Christmas.

Although initial reports surfaced last week about the 55,000-seater venue being the place for what would essentially be the first out-of-town Ginebra-Star game in recent memory, the PBA only made it formal through its release of the updated Philippine Cup schedule, where the arenas for the doubleheaders initially given a TBA each were announced.

The Barangay and the Hotshots lock horns at 5:15 p.m., right after the rematch of the first basketball game to be played inside the Bocaue hall, the Mahindra Floodbusters-Blackwater Elite game at 3 p.m.

Meanwhile, a rare twinbill at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan City will take place on Dec. 21 as Blackwater and GlobalPort face off at 4:15 p.m. even as Phoenix and Meralco clash at 7 p.m.

Also, the PhilSports Arena in Pasig will play host to a PBA matchday on Dec. 23 as TNT and Alaska square off at 4:15 p.m. while Rain Or Shine and NLEX lock horns at 7 p.m.

The PBA will return to the venue formerly known as ULTRA on Jan. 28 with the Meralco-Star and San Miguel-TNT games.

On the other hand, the first PBA doubleheader for 2017 will happen at the MOA Arena on Jan. 6 with the SMB-Blackwater and GlobalPort-Meralco showdowns.

In another development, the Star-Mahindra and the Alaska-ROS matches initially scheduled for Jan. 4 will now be played on Feb. 1, the final day of the eliminations, at the Cuneta Astrodome also in Pasay.

Meanwhile, the supposed clash between the Hotshots and the Fuel Masters on Dec. 10 will be moved to a different venue which the league will announce at a later date as the Mindanao Civic Center in Tubod is unavailable for the said date.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno