The Alaska Aces and the Blackwater Bossing will face off at the Ynares Arena in Pasig City on Friday, July 16, 2021, to commence the pandemic-delayed and much-awaited 46th season of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA).
Below is the live streaming of the said match which will begin at 12:30 PM.
Just like the other eight teams, both the Aces and Bossing are thrilled to play an official PBA game for the first time since November. However, due to the long layoff brought by the government’s monthly imposition of varying community quarantines in the Greater Manila area and in neighboring provinces, as well as the unavailability of preseason games, they may be a bit off come their respective opening matches.
“First game in eight months. We all are excited and happy to be back. But I’m expecting eagerness and timing may be off a bit while we get used to being back,” reiterated Alaska coach Jeff Cariaso.
“Nevertheless, we are ready for battle and we expect Blackwater to be confident and ready.”
Alaska changed up their lineup, bringing in rookies Taylor Browne, Ben Adamos, and RK Ilagan from the draft and free agents Yousef Taha and Gab Banal.
Furthermore, for the first time since 2014, the Aces would be without Vic Manuel, who was traded to Phoenix Super LPG in the off-season.
Aside from Mike Digregorio, Robbie Herndon, Jayvee Casio, and Maverick Ahanmisi, expect Jeron Teng and Abu Tratter to pick up the majority of the workload.
Blackwater coach Nash Racela feels the same way as Cariaso, saying, “Maraming nagtatanong how prepared we are. Mahirap sabihin because the bases really would be the actual games.”
“We’ll see over the weekend,” added Racela, whose squad finished 10th place in last year’s 45th PBA Season.
The formerly known as Elite and now called Bossing is substantially re-tooled. In the PBA Draft, Racela picked up three rookies: Andre Paras, Joshua Torralba, and Rey Mark Acuno. Simon Enciso, David Semerad, Baser Amer, and Kelly Nabong were all added to the roster as well. Carl Bryan Cruz is also suiting up this season.
“In one way, nakatulong din yung two months of training kasi nga we had more time to feel each other out, develop chemistry. Eight months iyon (layoff), so you don’t know what to expect. Hopefully, we’ll settle down early,” noted Racela.
Last year, Blackwater finished in the PBA bubble with only two victories and nine losses against more superior teams. Alaska, on the other hand, concluded the eliminations as a quarterfinalist with seven victories and five losses. The latter, however, was decisively killed by TNT Tropang Giga, the eventual runners-up, in a 104-83 decision.
In December 2020, the PBA held its last game, crowning Barangay Ginebra as Philippine Cup champion in a bubble in Clark, Pampanga.
Unlike last season’s setup, the league will have a closed-circuit system for the Philippine Cup this time, with teams, league employees, and the media encouraged to keep a venue-home pattern to limit COVID-19 exposure.
The games will be held four times a week. The conference is also scheduled to go through the end of October.