The new PBA season begins June 5 at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum with a loaded schedule. At 2:00 p.m., the annual Leo Awards honoring the previous season’s singles award winners swing, followed by the Opening Ceremony.
Then, for the first time in more than 10 seasons, Opening Day will include two games. At 4:00 PM, the Rain or Shine Elasto animators will be the first team to play newcomers Converge FiberXers. At 6:30pm it will be the rematch for last season’s Philippine Cup Finals where Magnolia Hotshots will face defending champion TNT Tropang Giga.
The league released a full conference schedule for the first time in two years. The PBA has stuck to its schedule of two games a day and five days a week that it first introduced in the 2020 bubble.
With 10 matches per week, the elimination round is scheduled to end on July 22nd. Here are five matches to look forward to in the 2022 Philippine Cup. Brandon Januelas-Rosser’s first-choice game is definitely worth watching, but since he’s currently on the injured/backup list at Blackwater, there’s no telling at this point when that might happen.
Magnolia Hotshots vs TNT Trubang Giga June 5, 6:30 p.m. Smart-Araneta Coliseum
We get the final rematch on opening day. Last season, TNT beat Magnolia in five matches to win the first Philippine Cup in eight years. Both teams offer roughly the same lineup from last year, and former Gilas Pilipinas goalkeeper Jaydee Tungcab is perhaps the only noteworthy addition to TNT. Magnolia has not won the Philippine Cup since 2014 when it was still the San Meg Cup, while TNT aims to repeat the Philippine Cup title for the first time in nine years.
Terrafirma Dyip vs. NLEX Road Warriors June 8, 3:00 p.m., Smart-Araneta Coliseum
This game will feature two sophomores eager to get back into the groove after injuries crippled their rookie campaign. Joshua Monzon, the 46th all-round pick, was limited to just nine games last season due to a dislocated finger. No. 3, Calvin Oftana opted for a hands-on session in the entire 2021-22 Conservative Cup with a similar injury. They will get a chance to make up for lost time early in the season.
Magnolia Hotshots vs. Barangay Ginpra June 19, 6:30 p.m. Mall of Asia Arena
The Manila Clasico is always a nationwide must-see, and the first of Season 47 is special because it coincides with the birthday of the country’s national hero Jose Rizal. Since their rivalry began in 1988, the Magnolia Series has had an overall advantage of 105-95 and won their last three games. It will be the first time in nearly three years that the public will be allowed to watch the Clasico; At their last meeting on Christmas Day, a limited number of fans were allowed into the venue.
TNT Trobang Giga vs San Miguel Permen July 7, 7:15 p.m. Smart-Araneta Coliseum
The confrontation between the main teams of the group MVP and SMC is always interesting. It helps that both teams are among the contenders for the Philippine Cup this season. The guard-driven TNT offensive led by Mickey Williams and Jason Castro is a sharp contrast to SMB’s imposing frontline June Mar Fajardo, Vic Manuel and Mo Tautua. TNT is the defending champion, while Permen are chasing their first Philippine Cup title since they completed five losses in 2019.
Affinity of FiberXers vs. Phoenix Super LPG July 16, 7:15 p.m. Ynares Center – Antipolo
On paper, these two teams are, at best, the black horses of the tournament. But they both have some good starters who can make some noise. The FiberXers will present the third and fourth picks from their recent rookie project, mega guys Justin Arana and Jiu Ampohot, and ninth pick, Kurt Lugera, who they acquired in a commercial deal with Blackwater in May. Phoenix wisely used their three second-round picks over guards Tyler Teo, Incho Serrano and big man Chris Lalata. While Lalata has been placed on the team’s reserve roster, Tio and Serrano will be looking to bring their college pedigree into the professional ranks.