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New era ushers in for four teams in rare PBA twinbill in San Juan

Kia will debut its "unconventional" gaming against NLEX featuring rookie Kiefer Ravena. Denver Lachica (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

LOS BAÑOS--Two of the most touted rookies this season will make their debut, while one team hopes its new name will bring new fortunes even as another hopes to begin its "Unconventional Era" in style as the second day of the PBA Philippine Cup takes place at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan City on Wednesday night.

In the league's one and only visit to the said arena for the elimination round of the season-opening conference, Kia and NLEX clash at 4:15 p.m., while newly-rechristened Magnolia takes on Alaska at 7 p.m.

While all eyes will be on the highly-anticipated PBA debuts of number two pick Kiefer Ravena and number five pick Jeron Teng, the two freshmen to watch out in the Philippine Cup especially with Chris Standhardinger not available for this conference, the four teams in action actually look to begin a brand new moment in their respective franchise histories on a high note.

Speaking of Standhardinger, the Picanto passed up on the chance to take him first overall in the draft and agreed with the San Miguel Beermen on a controversial trade that landed them veteran players Ronald Tubid and Jay-R Reyes and seldom-used young gun Rashawn McCarthy.

Explaining the rationale of the trade, Kia said that it is part of an "unconventional" scheme that it is planning for next season.

The Picanto still ended up with a first round pick from the last trade after trading with Phoenix for 11th pick Jon Gabriel.

[Related Story: Kia gets Gabriel from Phoenix in trade]

Kia's unconventional brand of basketball is set to get a baptism of fire against Ravena and NLEX, which looks to finish some unfinished business from the previous Governors' Cup.

Meanwhile, it's "new name" versus "new game" in the Magnolia-Alaska nightcap.

Formerly known as Star, the Purefoods franchise, still using the Hotshots moniker, looks forward to go beyond the semifinals, and it all begins with a showdown against Alaska, which is set to parade not just Teng but new comrades of Alex Compton in the coaching staff.

Multi-titled coach Eric Altamirano, who actually led the Hotshots to the 1997 Philippine Cup title as the Purefoods Corned Beef Cowboys, and PBA legend Danny Ildefonso join Compton at the Aces camp alongside recently retired star Tony Dela Cruz and former star import Sean Chambers, who wil now act as consultant, signaling that they are set to bring in a different kind of approach to the game than the past years.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno