Perez, Dyip test Cariaso, Aces in opener


    EVERYTHING has been smoothed out and the PBA can now proceed full steam towards its final conference for the season.

    The league yesterday unveiled its complete schedule for the Governors Cup eliminations with Meralco not seeing action in the FIBA Asia Champions Cup helping the PBA finalize the timetable.

    “At least du’n sa first week kasi ng original schedule walo lang nilalaro namin sa first two weeks,” said PBA commissioner Willie Marcial.

    “Nu’ng nandiyan pa pala Meralco, lumalim na ng konti rotation namin,” added Marcial. “Naging siyam (na teams), tapos dahan-dahang papasok iyung tatlo. Dumali ng i-finalize iyung schedule.”

    Marcial was referring to San Miguel Beer, TNT and Blackwater seeing action in the East Asia Terrific 12 set Sept. 17-22 in Macau and Meralco’s original plans to take part in the Champions Cup set Sept. 24-29 in Bangkok.

    Last week, however, FIBA informed the Bolts they have been replaced by a Lebanese squad.

    That left Meralco free to focus entirely on the game against defending champion Magnolia in their conference opener on Sept. 21.

    Before that game, the two rookies who shone for Gilas Pilipinas in the FIBA World Cup get to show their stuff for their respective teams in the kickoff games next Friday.

    CJ Perez and the rest of Columbian test Alaska under new coach Jeff Cariaso while later in the evening Robert Bolick aims to lead NorthPort when it tangles with Rain or Shine also at the Mall of Asia Arena.

    On the very next day and just before the Magnolia-Meralco game, Kiefer Ravena marks his return for NLEX when it duels Phoenix Pulse.

    Former champion Ginebra opens its campaign against Alaska on Sept. 22 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, with Rain or Shine and Columbian opening the day’s hostilities.

    Following their Terrific 12 stint, SMB, TNT and Blackwater play their opening games on Sept. 25 with the Grand Slam-seeking Beermen starting their bid against the Fuel Masters.

    The single-round, 11-game eliminations will run until Nov. 20 with the quarterfinals slated until Nov. 27.

    Following a break to give way to the 30th SEA Games the country is hosting from Nov. 30 to Dec. 11, the semifinals start Dec. 12 and should end by Dec. 22 at the most. The final will be held Jan. 8-22, 2020.

    Aside from that schedule, the league will hold its 2019 draft on Dec. 8 and starts its 45th season on March 1, 2020.