MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) - A new Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) season kicks off on Sunday, November 17. Anticipation is high especially with the influx of young talent that came via the PBA draft.
Who are the teams and players to watch out for? Rappler gives you a preview of each team and how we expect them to fare in the All-Filipino Conference.
GLOBALPORT BATANG PIER
Philippine Cup recap
It's been a year after Mikee Romero fulfilled his dream of owning a PBA franchise when GlobalPort Batang Pier took over the Powerade Tigers ball club. Remnants of the Tigers, like Gary David and Rey Guevarra, anchored the team but they won only once in 14 elimination games.
Head coach: Ritchie Ticzon
Assistants: Johnedel Cardel, Ricky Dandan, Rommel Adducul, Louie Gonzales
Batang Pier players have an average age of 24 years old, which means they are expected to be a run-and-gun team. Offense wouldn't be a problem with the likes of veteran Sol Mercado and rookies Terrence Romeo, and RR Garcia manning their squad. Jay Washington remains a match-up problem as he can play all frontcourt positions, while the arrival of veteran big men Enrico Villanueva and Erick Menk boosts their frontline.
Photo by Rappler
With that young average age comes inexperience. A few in the Batang Pier roster have been in the PBA finals. The overhaul included new members of the coaching staff. It means GlobalPort will have to start from scratch. Romero admits they have no choice but to field in their rookies, and expect a rough welcoming for these youngsters.
Sol Mercado was a revelation last Philippine Cup. Under the Meralco Bolts, he had premium averages, leading the entire league in both scoring (19.1) and assists (6.7) although they were booted out in the quarterfinals. Being the veteran, Mercado's leadership would be a big impact to the young GlobalPort squad.
How far can GlobalPort go?
It would be an understatement to say GlobalPort is a new squad. Former pro player Ritchie Ticzon will call the shots for Romero's crew. While their rookies are talented, the PBA is whole different arena. The main concern is if they can get their acts together.
Philippine Cup forecast
GlobalPort will fight their way for a 7th or 8th seed but they will crumble against championship caliber squads due to lack of experience. It won't be a winning conference, but they can learn a lot. - Rappler.com
Check out other team previews: