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SPRINT GOVERNORS’ CUP OPENS SUNDAY

07:32 PM May 16, 2014

With hardly a breather after the conclusion of the mid-season Commissioner’s Cup Thursday, the Philippine Basketball Association commences its season-ending tourney Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

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It’s Meralco versus Barako Bull and San Miguel Beer against Alaska in the opening twinbill of the 2014 PBA Governors’ Cup, the league’s last tourney before temporarily closing shop to give way to Gilas Pilipinas’ preparation and actual participation in the keenly awaited FIBA World Cup.

It’s a compact tourney playing six playdates a week in a schedule laid down by the league to accommodate Gilas Pilipinas’ participation in the FIBA Asia Cup in Wuhan, China in July – the Nationals’ tune-up competition for the world joust starting Aug. 30 in Spain.

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San Mig Super Coffee, hoisting the Commissioner’s Cup trophy at the PhilSports Arena Thursday night, chases a fourth straight championship.

The Mixers bring back Marqus Blakely as they go for a third straight Governors’ Cup Finals.

The Elasto Painters, the 2012 third conference champs, will again be reinforced by one-time Best Import awardee Arizona Reid.

Others in the impressive roster of imports are Alaska’s Bill Walker, Meralco’s Terrence Williams, Ginebra’s Zaccheus Mason, San Miguel Beer’s Reggie Williams, Air21’s Dominique Sutton, Talk n Text’s Othyus Jeffers, Barako Bull’s Eric Wise and GlobalPort’s Leroy Hickerson.

Hickerson is also a PBA returnee, having had a previous stint with Air21. The rest are newcomers with almost all having NBA experiences.

They figure in a virtual sprint of a tourney – a two-month competition with two teams eliminated after a single-round-robin preliminary phase.

The top four advance to the quarterfinals with twice-to-beat advantage over the next four. It’s No. 1, No. 2, No. 3 and No. 4 versus No. 8, No. 7, No. 6 and No. 5, respectively.

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The semifinals and the Finals are both best-of-five series.

The bulk of the games will be played at the Smart Araneta Coliseum with the rest slated at the MOA Arena, the Cuneta Astrodome, Philsports Arena and a new additional playing venue in Binan, Laguna.

Though playing in the Commissioner’s Cup up to Thursday night, San Mig Coffee and Talk n Text won’t get any rest, starting their Governors’ Cup campaigns on Wednesday.

The Tropang Texters play the Meralco Bolts while the Mixers battle the Barako Bull Energy. (SB)

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