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Back-to-back twinbills in Antipolo to kick off PBA Governors' Cup

Ginebra will begin its bid for back-to-back titles and a Governors' Cup three-peat just as August ends. Dennis Acosta (file photo)

By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--The Ynares Center in Antipolo will play host to the opening weekend of the PBA Governors' Cup.

In the official release of the schedule for the season-ending conference on Tuesday, Columbian will take on Meralco in the first game of tournament on Friday at 4:30 p.m. at the said venue.

NLEX, minus current national team coach Yeng Guiao, and TNT will collide in the other game at 7 p.m.

The Road Warriors will return to play two nights later back at the Ynares Center, taking on the newly-rechristened North Port Batang Pier in the curtain-raiser of the Sunday doubleheader at 4:30 p.m. The KaTropa and the Bolts will then clash in the main game at 6:45 p.m.

Action will then shift to the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City as Calvin Abueva makes his debut with Phoenix against Columbian at 4:30 p.m. of Aug. 22.

Also making its Governors' Cup debut is Magnolia, battling NLEX in the nightcap of the Aug. 22 fixtures at 7 p.m.

On Aug. 24, Blackwater opens its own campaign against TNT at 4:30 p.m., while Alaska begins life without Abueva against Meralco at 7 p.m. at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.

The showdown between Abueva and his former team will take place five nights later as the match between the Fuel Masters and the Aces highlights the scheduled twinbill for that day back at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, taking place right after the game pitting the Dyip and the Road Warriors.

On Aug. 31, Ginebra begins its bid for a third consecutive Governors' Cup title against Columbian back at the Smart Araneta Coliseum at 7 p.m., right after the encounter between TNT and Phoenix.

The night later, right on the first night of September, San Miguel will make its own tournament debut, taking on NLEX at 7 p.m., succeeding the Magnolia-North Port showdown at 4:30 p.m.

Rain Or Shine, whose core consists the Gilas Pilipinas roster in the Asian Games, will open its campaign in the first out-of-town game of the conference, a Sept. 22 battle against TNT at the University of San Agustin Gym in Iloilo City.

The PBA will also make stops at the Xavier University Gym in Cagayan De Oro City (Phoenix versus Ginebra on Sept. 29) and the Calasiao Sports Complex in Calasiao (TNT versus SMB on Oct. 20) with the venue of the road game between the Barangay and the Elasto Painters on Oct. 13 to be announced soon.

On the other hand, the league will have two twinbills in Laguna.

The Governors' Cup finals rematch between Meralco and Ginebra will headline the Oct. 7 doubleheader at the Sta. Rosa Multi-Purpose Sports Complex in Sta. Rosa City. The 6:45 p.m. battle will take place after ROS and Blackwater finish their 4:30 p.m. showdown.

Then on Oct. 27, the Elite battle the Dyip at 4:30 p.m. and the E-Painters collide with the Beermen at 6:45 p.m. at the Alonte Sports Arena in BiƱan.

Meanwhile, the Cuneta Astrodome also in Pasay will host three doubleheaders of their own, starting with the Oct. 10 schedule featuring the NLEX-Phoenix and the Blackwater-Magnolia games.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno