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With the PBA back in action, who do you think will win the Philippine Cup?
11/10/2020
Asia
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With the PBA back in action, who do you think will win the Philippine Cup?

PAMPANGA (Philippines) - The game between the San Miguel Beerman and Magnolia Hotshots was the only game of the first conference in the 2020 Philippines Basketball Association (PBA) season played so far before the decision to temporarily suspend action was made. Now, the league is ready to jump back into action in a “bubble” setting located in Clarke, Pampanga.

The first game of the Philippine Cup in the “PBA bubble” will be between TNT Tropang Giga and the Alaska Aces on Sunday, October 11 at 4:00 PM (local time). That will be immediately be followed by Barangay Ginebra San Miguel going up against the NLEX Road Warriors at 6:45 PM (local time).

It’s been quite a while since we’ve seen the PBA in action, so let’s take a quick look at how the teams are shaping up!

Teams

Alaska Aces (Philippine Cup 2019 : 4-7, lost in Quarter-Finals)

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2 days to go! ✌

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The Aces have gone through quite some changes so fans might have to expect some bumps on the road, but rest assured that the Aces will always play hard. Gone are Philippine Cup 2019 top scorers Carl Bryan Cruz, Chris Banchero, and Simon Enciso, but that shoudn’t be too much of a worry with veteran Vic Manuel and young studs in Jeron Teng and Abu Tratter in place.

The Aces might not be loaded with “stars”, but they certainly do not lack quality players.

Barangay Ginebra San Miguel (Philippine Cup 2019 : 7-4, lost in Quarter-Finals)

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The PBA is BACK !!!

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Among one of the most popular teams in the Philippines, Ginebra have become constant contenders under the guidance of coach Tim Cone. They won the Governor’s Cup to close out the previous season and have their eyes set on the opening cup to start things off this year.

Ginebra have more than enough firepower at each position from Stanley Pringle, Japeth Aguilar, LA Tenorio, Scottie Thompson, and Jeff Chan. They just have to move these pieces correctly through the game.

Blackwater Elite (Philippine Cup 2019 : 2-9, did not qualify for Playoffs)

 

As one of the newest franchises in the league, Blackwater are still struggling to find their way. Coach Nash Racela might be able to get something going this season, but he’ll need their star Mac Belo to step up big time. Blackwater will also have No. 2 draft pick Maurice Shaw who makes up for his age (35 years old) with his size and experience.

Magnolia Hotshots Pambansang Manok (Philippine Cup 2019 : 6-5, lost in Finals)

 

Magnolia were thisclose to winning it all the last time the teams played in the Philippine Cup, losing to the San Miguel Beermen 4-3 in the Finals. Here’s the scary part: what if they’re even better this year? Paul Lee, Jio Jalalon, and Ian Sangalang were the key guys in the last run to the Finals and they’ve added Banchero (from Alaska) as well as Jack Corpuz since. The Hotshots are  going to be talented and deep.

Meralco Bolts (Philippine Cup 2019 : 3-8, did not qualify for Playoffs)

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BUBBLE BOLTS ⚡ Double tap if you miss seeing these guys in action! #ChargeForward 📸 by @new11new

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The Bolts have been great in conferences that allow foreign players to play, but have otherwise struggled in the All-Local Philippine Cup. Ranidel De Ocampo’s retirement is a big blow, but the youth movement is interesting. Chris Newsome, Baser Amer, and Trevis Jackson should be a problem in the backcourt, while draft pick and literal coach’s son Aaron Black is a nice addition. Raymond Almazan and Cliff Hodge can also hold it down in the paint, but it’s all going to come down to how coach Normal Black can mix it all up together.

NLEX Road Warriors (Philippine Cup 2019 : 4-7, did not qualify for Playoffs)

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Gameday! 📷 PBA

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This is Kiefer Ravena’s team now. Especially after NLEX dealt JP Erram away, the team are going to need Ravena, their star, to keep putting up big numbers. JR Quiñahan and Jericho Cruz can help, but make no mistake that Kiefer is the main man here.

NorthPort Batang Pier (Philippine Cup 2019 : 5-6, lost in Quarter-Finals)

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Bubble attendance: “Batang Pier?” “Present!” 🙋🏻‍♂️ (📸 @TheBCDAGroup)

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NorthPort almost look like a completely different team this year after having traded Stanley Pringle away. But they are still pretty good, which is what happens when you get a guy like Christian Standhardinger back in return. Standhardinger should be considered a legit MVP candidate and pairing him up with Sean Anthony results in a very strong frontline.

Phoenix Super LPG (Philippine Cup 2019 : 9-2, lost in Semi-Finals)

 

 Matthew Wright has emerged to become the superstar that fans envisioned him to be when he first entered the PBA draft. He turned Phoenix into a contender after finishing with the best elimination round record last year by averaging 17.6 points and 4.2 rebounds per game, also with 2018 Rookie of the Year Jason Perkins banging it up in the paint.

Phoenix also had Calvin Abueva during their last Philippine Cup run, but have been missing him for most of the part since due to a league suspension. Abueva's name has been added among the player attending the bubble with Phoenix this time and the team is surely hoping he'll be cleared to play as soon as possible.

Rain or Shine Elasto Painters (Philippine Cup 2019 : 8-2, lost in Semi-Finals)

 

 Rain or Shine probably doesn't have the flashiest rosters in the PBA, especially after trading away their former franchise star Paul Lee. However, they do have an intriguing young jitterbug backcourt in Javee Mocon and Rey Nambatac who both averaged double-digit scoring in the Governor's Cup last year. Of course, they also have trusted calming veteran presences in James Yap and Gabe Norwood to even it all out.

And don't forget about Beau Belga, the brusing big man on the court who is having the time of his life entertaining everyone in the PBA bubble!

San Miguel Beermen (Philippine Cup 2019 : 7-4, Champions)

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Beermen Bubble

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The San Miguel Beermen have won five straight Philippine Cups, dating back to 2014. It's never come easy as they've gone to Game 7s against the likes of tough opponents like the Aces and Magnolia last year. But the Beermen get the job done.

From Chris Ross to Marcio Lassiter to Terrence Romeo to Arwind Santos, the Beermen are easily loaded as the most talented team in the league. The best of the bunch, of course,  is 6-time league MVP June Mar Fajardo who the Beermen will be missing for this conference due to an injury. Still, after winning this Cup five straight times, it's their's to lose once again.

TNT Tropang GIGA (Philippine Cup 2019 : 7-4, lost in Quarter-Finals)

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Roger + Ray in the #TropangGIGA unis 👀

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 The frustration is bottling up. Before the San Miguel Beermen went on their 5-time Philippine Cup run streak, it was TNT who were the kings of this conference. The had won four of the 5 Philippine Cups before 2014 and three straight before the Beermen went on their run.

This year, they have a team that might just be talented enough to dethrone the defending champs. The backcourt is stacked with national team stars Jayson Castro and RR Pogoy as well as late-season addition Ray Parks Jr. who is expected to take it up a notch soon. Troy Rosario provides size, length, and versatility to round up a very solid team in search of ending a title draught.

Terrafirma Dyip (Philippine Cup 2019 : 4-7, did not qualify for Playoffs)

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Squad goals . @rozayyyyrose @r_mc_ @ericcamson @cahilig @pbabubble @pbaconnect

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 Keeping track of their team name might be a bit tough, but don't worry about that. Just keep your eyes on reigning Rookie of the Year CJ Perez who averaged an eye-popping 20.8 points, 7.4 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per game across all three conferences last season. Perez also had some help in Rashawn McCarthy (14.5 points per game) and will be getting even more in No. 1 draft pick Roosevelt Adams.

Dyip fans barely got to cheer for any wins in the previous season but with the pieces they have on their team right now, that might change this year.

FIBA