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MPBL, PFL opening, PBA's NAS return, AP Bren-Echo clash highlight blockbuster Saturday

Rowgien Unido was all smiles on Friday night, but intense seriousness follows on a blockbuster Saturday primetime. Moonton (file photo)
By Ivan Saldajeno

CALASIAO—It is going to be a battle of spotlights on Saturday as two professional leagues formally open shop for their respective seasons, another pro league pays a visit to an old home, and another pro league features a showdown between undefeated teams in a blockbuster day in sports.

The MPBL formally opens its sixth season at the Calasiao Sports Complex here with home team Pangasinan and away side Abra, two of the league's new expansion clubs, colliding in the nightcap of the opening day doubleheader at 8 p.m.

The season opener will see Valenzuela and Zamboanga clashing against each other at 6 p.m.

The PFL also begins on Saturday with a four-match bill, three happening at the Rizal Memorial Stadium in Manila and a fourth match taking place at the Dynamic Herb Sports Complex in Talisay City.

Expansion sides Manila Digger and Army clash right at the season opener scheduled for a 3 p.m. kickoff at the RMS, while Air Force makes its PFL return in the next match against Mendiola.

Tuloy will then begin its PFL quest by taking on Maharlika Taguig in the nightcap at 8 p.m.

The lone match in Talisay City will see Dynamic Herb Cebu defending its home field against returning Loyola at 5 p.m.

Just across the RMS, though, is the Ninoy Aquino Stadium, where the PBA holds games again there after 13 years.

Rey Nambatac and James Yap face off against their former team as Blackwater clashes with Rain Or Shine in the first game at 3 p.m., while Magnolia looks to bounce back from their tough Manila Clasico loss to Ginebra with a showdown against red-hot NLEX at 6:15 p.m.

The Hotshots, though, will be without Calvin Abueva as he will serve his one-game suspension against the Road Warriors.

For esports fans, all eyes will be on the MPL Philippines Season 13 as AP Bren and Echo, the last two remaining unbeaten teams, clash in the second tie of a triple-header.

The showdown between 5-0 AP Bren and 4-0 Echo is scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m., but it could start earlier depending on the outcome of the first match between RSG Philippines and TNC at 4 p.m.

Word has reached Dugout Philippines, however, that a grand welcome awaits both AP Bren and Echo once they arrive at the Shooting Gallery Studios in Makati ahead of their match-up to honor their early dominance this season.

When asked regarding having almost the same amount of limelight as the other big events happening on Saturday, AP Bren midlaner Angelo Arcangel said that he will treat the blockbuster clash against Echo as a regular match.

"Hindi namin masyadong iniisip kung sino ang makakalaban namin," Arcangel, also known as "Pheww", said ahead of the AP Bren-Echo clash.

"Sa regular season, chill lang talaga yung playstyle namin."

Also opening shop on Saturday is the Pinoyliga Collegiate Cup, while the PVL returns to the Sta. Rosa Multi-Purpose Sports Complex in Laguna with a sold-out crowd anticipated.

Follow him on X: @IvanSaldajeno

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