By Leobert Julian A. de la Peña
The Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) just moved its opening ceremony for the upcoming 48th season to show support for the country’s campaign in the Asian Games.
From October 15, 2023, the PBA decided to hold its kick-off season on November 5, 2023, as confirmed by commissioner Willie Marcial and the rest of the board.
The 19th Asian Games will be held in China this year and will start its festivities on September 23, 2023, at the Hangzhou Olympic Sports Expo Center.
PBA’s crucial move came after the Gilas Pilipinas men’s national basketball team formed a roster that is mostly composed of professional players playing in the PHL’s big boys’ league.
Also, most of their coaching staff headed by Tim Cone of the Barangay Ginebra San Miguel are from the PBA, including team manager Alfrancis Chua, the sports director of the San Miguel Corporation (SMC).
Marcial announced that this will give the players who will represent the PHL in China enough time to rest and will boost the 48th season’s opening preparations.
Leading the pack of Gilas’ lineup for the Asian Games is PBA’s only six-time Most Valuable Player (MVP) June Mar Fajardo of the San Miguel Beermen.
Also listed in the roster is Gilas’ team captain during the FIBA World Cup, Japeth Aguilar of the Gin Kings, and reigning league MVP Scottie Thompson.
The naturalized duo of Justin Brownlee and Ange Kouame will also be present in the Asian Games as well as the services of Calvin Oftana and Chris Newsome, two members of the 24-man pool of the national team during the World Cup.
Exciting things are also bound for the national team as Terrence Romeo, Calvin Abueva, and Stanley Pringle, three former members of Gilas, will also be making their return to China.