The pre-season games, highlighted by simultaneous matches in Urdaneta City, Pangasinan and Concepcion, Tarlac, get the ball rolling for the 35th year of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).
The annual exhibition series held prior to the start of the season and involving all 10 teams, kicks off on Sept. 25 at the Astrodome when the rebuilt Coca-Cola Tigers test the mettle of last year's Philippine Cup runner-up Alaska Aces in the lone Friday game set at 6 p.m.
The Tigers are expected to parade new recruits Ken Bono, Larry Rodriguez, Jojo Duncil and the year's no. 3 overall pick in Chris Ross against the solid, veteran rotation of the Aces bannered by former league MVP Willie Miller, L.A. Tenorio, Joe DeVance and Sonny Thoss.
The following day, the league takes its act to the provinces as Barangay Ginebra and defending Fiesta Cup champion San Miguel clash in Pangasinan in a rematch of last year's season-ending Finals.
The 4 p.m. match will see for the first time Arwind Santos and Denok Miranda suiting up for the Beermen following their off-sea-son acquisition from Burger King and Sta. Lucia, respectively.
The Kings on the other hand, are set to flaunt new faces Enrico Villanueva, Rich Alvarez, Paolo Bugia and Celino Cruz. The pre-season games may also be used by coach Jong Uichcio as perfect opportunity to slowly get back Mark Caguioa in shape after the prolific Ginebra scorer sat out the entire 34th season owing to an injury.
On the same time and date as the Ginebra-San Miguel game is the clash between Burger King and Purefoods in Tarlac. The Giants will have in their arsenal no. 2 d