PBA returns with a bang

Photograph by Rio Deluvio for the Daily Tribune @tribunephl_rio ANDREW Nicholson and the Bay Area Dragons spice up the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

After two shortened seasons and two closed-door tournaments, the Philippine Basketball Association returned with a bang, finally welcoming back its fans who responded by attending the games like they used to during pre-pandemic days.

What made the league’s much-awaited comeback all the more exciting was Barangay Ginebra’s involvement in the all-important playoffs.

The champion of the first bubble tournament immediately picked up from where it left off in last season’s Governors’ Cup and restored the team’s winning tradition.

In the five stagings of the season-ending tournament, the league’s most popular team was able to win it four times with resident import Justin Brownlee leading the charge.

Back to his familiar role as the go-to-guy, Brownlee once again led the Kings to another title run by powering them in reasserting their dominance over Meralco.

Ginebra defeated Meralco, 4-2, to prove its mastery over the Bolts in previous four encounters.

The Gin Kings capped a big season by seeing Scottie Thompson, the face of the PBA, winning the Most Valuable Player award.

Year 2022 also saw San Miguel restoring its winning legacy.

With six-time MVP June Mar Fajardo back in harness, the retooled Beermen were able to edge TNT Tropang Giga in an epic seven-game championship series.

By setting up a blockbuster finale, San Miguel Beer and TNT also earned meal tickets to play in the East Asia Super League and represent the country in this prestigious club tournament where a pot money of $1-million will be given to the champion.

The East Asia League opened its doors to the PBA and it’s only fitting that the region’s pioneering professional event gave Pinoy fans a different flavor.

Bay Area, a Hong Kong-based squad, is currently taking part as a guest team in the PBA Commissioner’s Cup.

Displaying teamwork and parading legit NBA players, Bay Area became the first foreign club to showcase their wares after Nicholas Stoodley in the early 1980s.

The Dragons immediately stamped their class in dominating the elimination round en route to a place in the race-to-four title series with the Gin Kings.

Presently, the team is competing in the championship round against no less than the league’s crowd darling.

To hype the title clash, the Dragons have been labeled as an invading army while the Gin Kings have been chosen as gatekeepers.

So far, the series is tied at 1-all after Bay Area came back and prevailed in Game 2.

The new year looks promising with Bay Area and Ginebra treating fans to world-class hoops.

Based on the Chinese Zodiac, 2023 belongs to the rabbit.

But if Ginebra fails to check the Bay Area’s advance, it could very well be another Year of the Dragon.

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