The Star Hotshots will take on the Rain or Shine Elasto Paintmasters in the opening day of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) Philippine Cup at the Araneta Coliseum today.
The lone game at 5:15 pm will be preceded by the 3 p.m. opening ceremony, which will be attended by Commissioner Chito Narvasa, the league’s CEO Chito Salud and PBA Chairman Robert Non of San Miguel Beer.
Veteran forward Jean Marc Pingris said that he is very excited with the return of 6’6 Ian Sangalang who missed most of the games last season because of an injury.
“I’m excited about this PBA season. I focus well on my conditioning and training. Ian [Sangalang] is now playing again after recovering from injury. Our front court is solid this time,” said Pingris during an interview.
“We also have Jake Pascual and rookie Norbert Torres to play inside the paint.”
“Our new head coach Jason Webb is a strict coach and he told me to become the role model of the team. We have a new system which is more of a running game,” added Pingris, who is also a member of the Gilas Pilipinas national team that finished second in the recent 28th FIBA Asia Championship Olympic qualifier in China.
Besides Sangalang, Pascual, Torres and Pingris, two-time Most Valuable Player James Yap, Peter June Simon, Justin Melton, Marc Barroca, Alex Mallari, Yousef Taha and Rafi Reavis, among others, are also expected to lead Star against Rain or Shine.
“The team is excited and we’re looking forward to the challenge of the new season,” said Webb, who replaced grand slam coach Tim Cone during the off-season.
“We hope that we’ll able to perform well on the opening day against one of the most consistent successful teams the last few years.”
Rain or Shine, under the tutelage of coach Yeng Guiao, is expected to bank on the prowess of Paul Lee, Gabe Norwood, rookie Maverick Ahanmisi, Raymund Almazan, Beau Belga, Chris Tiu, Jeff Chan and JR Quinahan in repelling Star.