THE rivalry resumes.
San Miguel Beer and TNT KaTropa will be at each other’s throats as they seek a championship in their anticipated best-of-seven titular showdown in the 2017 Philippine Basketball Association Commissioner’s Cup.
Game 1 of the finals between the Beermen and the Tropang Texters is scheduled tonight at 7 p.m. at the Smart Araneta Coliseum as both teams obviously want to gain an early upper hand.
The stage is set for an all-out-war pitting teams with loaded rosters from top to bottom.
No less than PBA commissioner Chito Narvasa expressed his excitement over the looming finale.
“I know this is going to be a dogfight for both teams. May the best team win. I’m looking forward to this,” said the league chair.
The Beermen championship core of Alex Cabagnot, June Mar Fajardo, Marcio Lassiter, Chris Ross, Arwind Santos, along with import Charles Rhodes, will be tested and challenged by a fellow powerhouse.
The Tropang Texters will still have the leadership and dominance of superstar Jayson Castro. He will have plenty of help from rising rookie RR Pogoy, Ryan Reyes, Kelly Williams, Ranidel De Ocampo, RR Garcia and Anthony Semerad, among others.
One huge uncertainty for the series is the import status of TNT KaTropa.
Joshua Smith is still the primary reinforcement but his injured foot might be too much to overcome and backup import Mike Myers is likely to step in if necessary.
Given all the intrigue and the firepower involved, everyone expects this championship tussle between these Goliaths to produce a lot of fireworks.
SMB wants to stretch its perfect record in PBA Finals in the last three years. TNT KaTropa, a team on the rise under a promising young coach, hopes to be back on top after a five-conference title drought. A slam-bang battle looms.
The Beermen and the Texters begin their best-of-seven title showdown at 7 p.m. Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
“Sobra na, tama na, KaTropa naman,” said TNT team manager Virgil Villavicencio during the joint press conference to express desire to end the Beermen’s reign.
“Hindi nakakasawang mag-champion. Lagi namin asam ito,” countered said San Miguel Beer forward Arwind Santos.
The Beermen are in their 38th finals and are looking for their 24th PBA crown. The Texters are in their 17th championship series, chasing an eighth title.
The Beermeen, winner of the 2017 PBA Philippine Cup, are also on track for a possible second grand slam. They achieved feat in 1989 with a team led by PBA all-time greats Mon Fernandez, Ricky Brown, Samboy Lim and Hector Calma.
The two teams earlier faced off in a best-of-seven playoff in the last Philippine Cup semifinals. The Texters lost that series—allowing the Beermen to go to the finals and eventually win the crown against the Barangay Ginebra Kings.