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PBA board in unison: "SMB, Ginebra, TNT are teams to beat"

For the PBA board, San Miguel is a cinch to win its fourth straight PBA Philippine Cup title.
By Ivan Saldajeno

PARAÑAQUE--They may still have opposing views regarding the commissionership in the PBA but on Wednesday, board members shared a common take in terms of which teams will likely prevail in the Philippine Cup.

The board members--or their representatives for the cases of Meralco and TNT--believe that TNT, San Miguel, and Ginebra are the favorites to win the much-coveted championship in the season opening conference starting Dec. 18.

During the pre-season press conference at the Okada Manila Golden Ballroom, the team governors said that the intact cores for the said ballclubs will suffice for their dominance in the Philippine Cup.

Despite first overall pick Chris Standhardinger not suiting up due to his commitments with Eastern in the ABL, the Beermen, the defending champions, remain a formidable squad with reigning MVP Junemar Fajardo, Defensive Player of the Year Chris Ross, Arwind Santos, Alex Cabagnot, and Marcio Lassiter leading the way.

Meanwhile, the Barangay, fresh from defending the Governors' Cup title last October, will still have Greg Slaughter, LA Tenorio, Japeth Aguilar, Scottie Thompson, and Sol Mercado in the fold among their other key players plus the arrival of rookie Jett Manuel and new acquisition Arth Dela Cruz.

Only the retirement of Jayjay Helterbrand is the other key difference from last year's roster.

The KaTropa will also boast an intact lineup featuring national team players Jayson Castro, Troy Rosario, and Rookie of the Year RR Pogoy.

However, Kia governor Bobby Rosales believes there is another team to watch out this conference.

“I believe the dark horse here is NLEX," Rosales said.

Magnum Membrere, who represented TNT for Pato Gregorio, actually added the Road Warriors to his teams to beat.

Following dismal finishes in the first two conferences, NLEX came out firing in the Governors' Cup, starting the conference 5-0, only to fizzle out in the end.

Kiefer Ravena's arrival, however, could turn the tides for the Yeng Guiao-led side.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno