After a mere nine-day breather, the 43rd PBA Season resumes Friday with Governors Cup back-to-back runner-up Meralco and twice Best Import winner Allen Durham featured on the opening game against Columbian Dyip at the Ynares Sports Center in Antipolo.
The Elasto Painters plunge into action in the Governors Cup on Sept. 22 in a Petron Blaze road game in Passi City, Iloilo versus TNT KaTropa.
The Bolts and Durham tangle with the Dyip and their debuting import Akeem Wright in the 4:30 p.m. conference opener to be followed by the 7 p.m. tussle between NLEX and TNT KaTropa.
Reigning champion Barangay Ginebra, also the winner in the recent Commissioner's Cup, and San Miguel Beer, the second conference runner-up, won't see action in the first two weeks of the season-ending tourney.
The Kings and three-time PBA champion import Justin Brownlee start their title defense versus the Dyip on Aug. 31 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum while the Beermen and returning import AZ Reid make their own conference debut versus the NLEX Road Warriors on Sept. 1 also at the Big Dome.
Rain or Shine won't see action in the first five weeks of the tourney since its core players, with coach Caloy Garcia, will render duty to the national team in the Asian Games in Jakarta, Indonesia.
The PBA holds a total of five Petron Blaze road games in the conference.
Phoenix Petroleum and Ginebra clash in Cagayan de Oro on Sept. 29; it's North Port (GlobalPort) versus Columbian Dyip and Alaska Milk opposite San Miguel Beer in Antipolo on Oct. 6; TNT KaTropa mixes it up with San Miguel in Calasiao, Pangasinan onOct. 20, and it's Blackwater against Columbian Dyip and ROS versus SMB on Oct. 27 in Binan, Laguna.
In focus are imports with a height ceiling of 6-foot-5.
Nine teams opted to bring in tested PBA imports with only three ball clubs signing up new faces.
The newcomers are Wright, Alaska Milk's Mike Harris and North Port's Rashad Woods.
Banking on old tested imports like Ginebra, Meralco and SMB are Rain or Shine with J'Nathan Bullock, TNT KaTropa with Mike Glover, Phoenix Petroleum with Eugene Phelps, Blackwater with Henry Walker, Magnolia with Romeo Travis and NLEX with Oluseyi Ashaolu.
It's an explosive cast led by former Best Import winners in Brownlee, Durham and Reid.(SB)