PBA in Dubai: what to expect as Alaska plays Ginebra, Mahindra

Alaska to play 2 games in 2 days, against Mahindra on November 6 and Ginebra November 7.

It will be the first time Alaska Aces and Mahindra Enforcers will be playing official games in Dubai. Ginebra, already a jet setter, just played a game against Rain or Shine in Al Shabab, 5 months back.

Though this is the 5th trip of the PBA's most popular ball club in the emirate, they almost present new lineup - new mix of players and coaches to be excited about.

Ginebra San Miguel is arguably one of the busiest teams during the off-season having acquired the winningest coach Tim Cone from Purefoods.

The already formidable lineup of Japeth Aguilar, Greg Slaughter, LA Tenorio, Mark Caguioa and Jayjay Helterbrand plus a healthy Chris Ellis and Sol Mercado will be joined by the versatile veteran forward Joe Devance. The newcomers Scottie Thompson, Aljon Mariano and Nico Salva are also as exciting to watch out for. Thompson is the NCAA MVP from University of Perpetual Help who's capable of producing triple-double figures in many games.

The loyal fans surely awaits how this solid lineup responds to the triangle. Will Ginebra finally end the 8-year title drought? Will the kings have their own grand slam?

Interestingly, coach Tim started the triangle offense in Alaska. Now handled by cerebral coach Alex Compton, the Aces have all the best reasons why fans should cheer for them as well.

Even without major changes in its lineup, Alaska prides itself into lending 4 players and their coach to the national team. Calvin Abueva, Sonny Thoss and Dondon Hontiveros had respectable showing for Gilas Pilipinas' silver finish in FIBA Asia 2015; and Alex Compton being one of the assistant coaches.  Vic Manuel joined Abueva in the recently concluded FIBA 3x3 championship battle in Abu Dhabi.

Aside from the national team heroes, this perennial contender also boasts former Gilas players Jayvee Casio and RJ Jazul, seasoned veteran Eric Menk, Cyrus Baguio and Chris Banchero.

The Alaska - Ginebra game will surely bring the house down in Dubai. I already hear the Abueva chants versus Caguioa.

Mahindra Enforcers (formerly Kia) brings a lot of new players under their new management. Bannered by none other than senatoriable candidate Manny Pacquiao whose legacy still remains in the four-cornered ring, the enforcers will be powered by newcomers and former national team players Aldrech Ramos and KG Canaleta. This team also promises a better supporting cast this season lead by FIBA3x3 player Karl Dehesa, LA Revilla, Alex Nuyles and NCAA scoring machine Juneric Baloria.

Imagine the moment coach Manny Pacquiao enters the playing court... Cheers? Jeers? I don't know. I'm pretty sure there will be other nationalities in the crowd when Mahindra plays.

Games will be played at Al Wasl Sports Club in Oud Metha. There will be free RTA buses from Al Jadaf Metro station to Al Wasl Sport Club and vice versa.

Tickets are priced from AED100 to AED250 and can be purchased online at Platinum List or call 04-5521614 for more info.

Kudos to Clique Events and their sponsors for spearheading yet another thrilling Filipino sporting event. This is gonna be bigger.

*Top photo from Alaska Aces website.

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