Starting later tonight, professional basketball in the Philippines resumes with the start of the Commissioner's Cup. With the backdrop of the fascinating All-Filipino Cup between the underdog Powerade Tigers and the newly minted champions Talk N' Text Tropang Texters, Philippine basketball re-emerges into the spotlight and attention of the Filipino sports fan.
The success of the "Kampihan Na!" campaign fostered by the partnership of the PBA and AkTV has already netted some dividends, as the league earned P39 million in gate receipts, exceeding the P36 million target. With regards to television, 1.2 million viewers watched the Game 7 telecast of the semifinals between bitter rivals Petron Blaze Boosters and TNT.
The previous conference thrust new players into the spotlight, namely SMART Gilas I alumni JVee Casio, Chris Lutz, Dylan Ababou, Marcio Lassiter and the establishment of Gary David as a bonafide star in the league. Who can forget his virtuoso postseason for the 8th seeded Tigers. He deserved to win the Best Player of the Conference trophy.
The new conference will have one major tweak, and that is the inclusion of an import with unlimited height. As it was discussed during the press conference last Wednesday, having the right import could be all the difference between making it to the next stage or missing it.
The pressure now lies with these guys:
Air 21 Express (formerly known as Shopinas) - Marcus Douthit
Alaska Aces - Adam Parada
B-Meg Derby Ace Llamados - Denzel Bowles
Barako Bull Energy - DerMarr Johnson
Barangay Ginebra Kings - Chris Alexander
Meralco Bolts - Jarrid Famous
Petron Blaze Boosters - Nick Fazekas
Powerade Tigers - Dwayne Jones
Rain or Shine Elastopainters - Willard Crews
Talk N' Text Tropang Texters - Omar Samhan
Kick-off will be tonight, 515pm with Barako Bull versus Alaska and the 730pm game would be B-Meg versus Meralco.