The PBA released its official roster list two days before Season 46 tips off with a closed-circuit format on Friday, July 16 at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
As is the case with any basketball league, roster shakeups, veteran holdovers, and rookie acquisitions are all part of the norm, and all 12 teams had their fair share of movement in yet another lengthy pandemic offseason.
In one of the most notable parts of the roster list, the NLEX Road Warriors are still firmly in the middle of a controversial tug-of-war between the Japan B. League’s Shiga Lakestars as they also listed star guard Kiefer Ravena as part of their 15-man lineup. (READ: PBA on Kiefer Ravena joining Japan B. League: ‘Hindi puwede’)
Although the Lakestars canceled their introductory press conference with Ravena, they still stood firm with their signing by putting him in their season roster weeks ahead of NLEX. (READ: Ravena brothers set for likely face off in B. League Shiga-San-en opener)
While the Road Warriors are still in the middle of figuring things out like the rest of the budding contenders, the defending Philippine Cup champions Barangay Ginebra are all ready to start their title defense with new star center Christian Standhardinger leading the way.
Speaking of star centers, the San Miguel Beermen have welcomed with open arms their returning six-time MVP June Mar Fajardo, who was out for the entirety of the bubble season with a leg injury that resulted in the end of their legendary All-Filipino title streak.
But Fajardo will not return to the exact same team he was running with, as the Beermen now also have former Terrafirma Dyip star CJ Perez waiting in the wings after being acquired in yet another controversial trade for role players and draft picks.
As for the Dyip, they have another chance to redeem their image with the highly anticipated debut of “rookie veteran” Joshua Munzon, who immediately takes the lead alongside fellow top pick Roosevelt Adams.
Meanwhile, second overall selection Jamie Malonzo will bring much-needed energy for the NorthPort Batang Pier in the post-Standhardinger era. Former Ginebra star Greg Slaughter will be the team’s new anchor while Sean Anthony and the returning Robert Bolick spice up the backcourt.
On the topic of spicing things up, the Magnolia Hotshots just got hotter with their big-time trade for bubble hero Calvin Abueva, who was traded for a package surrounding Chris Banchero.
As for Abueva’s old team, the Phoenix Fuel Masters, they retooled admirably with the acquisition of Abueva’s good friend Vic Manuel from the Alaska Aces, who will now lead alongside Banchero, Jason Perkins and star sniper Matthew Wright.
With trades once again allowed in the closed-circuit format, fans can surely expect that these moves won’t be the last in the first leg of the two-conference season. – Rappler.com