3 p.m. - Alaska vs NorthPort
6 p.m. - NLEX vs San Miguel
The keenly awaited PBA Governors' Cup finally unwraps Wednesday with a double-header pitting Alaska Milk versus NorthPort and NLEX against San Miguel Beer at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
The Aces and the Batang Pier tangle in the 3 p.m. kickoff game then the Road Warriors and the Beermen clash at 6 p.m. in an inaugural bill featuring three returning imports and one fresh face.
The import-laced tourney, returning after a year hiatus, will be played before empty seats until the league secures consent from local government units ready to accommodate spectators.
The PBA plays five days in a week with breaks on Monday and Tuesday in a one-round-robin elimination phase where the 12 teams fight for the coveted Top Four spots to enjoy a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals.
The semifinals will be a best-of-five affair while the finals will be best-of-seven.
The Aces, the Batang Pier, the Road Warriors and the Beermen all look for a winning start and early momentum in what is expected to be a cutthroat elims rumble.
The Beermen are bringing in Brandon Brown in a bid to arrest a skid since winning the 2019 Commissioner's Cup with the help of import Chris MucCullough.
Two other comebacking imports playing on opening day are Olu Ashaolu for Alaska Milk and KJ McDaniels for NLEX even as Cameron Forte makes his PBA debut with NorthPort.
NorthPort coach Pido Jarencio is hopeful the Jordanian naturalized player can provide them the extra push to get deeper in the postseason play after placing fourth in the last Governors' Cup then fifth in the recent Philippine Cup.
The Aces and the Road Warriors, meanwhile, opted for familiarity rather than taking chances with new prospects.
"We're all doing fine. I think we'll have a good conference this coming conference," said NLEX coach Yeng Guiao, upbeat with McDaniels as well as recent signing Kris Rosales and trade acquisition Marion Magat.
"With KJ's presence, with our new guys, with the rest of the guys, we feel we have the players to complement one another and I think we can get to the semifinals," he said.
McDaniels posted averages of 35.5 points, 13.5 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.4 steals in leading TNT to a semifinal finish in 2019.
Ashaolu, meanwhile, made good impressions in earlier PBA tours of duty with NLEX. (SB)