A Wheeler's Opinion: SMB's star power will dominate anew
(Photo by the PBA Media Bureau)
If you watched the official launching event for the upcoming 43rd season of the PBA, you wouldn't believe that the 12 PBA Governors were once divided with regards to whether or not Chito Narvasa should stay on as PBA commissioner. For one event, the 12 teams are united behind the fact that the new season will open on December 17, 2017, when the defending Philippine Cup champions, the San Miguel Beermen open their title defense against the Phoenix Fuel Masters.
There were no visible tension or any sort seen during the launching event and there were many questions that were thrown to the governors themselves. Among the questions that were asked was this:
Who among the 12 teams will be the team to Beat in the season-opening Philippine Cup?
Three teams stood as the answers for the majority of the 12 teams:
- San Miguel Beermen
- Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings
- Talk N Text KaTropa
For starters, picking the Beermen as one of the teams to beat this upcoming conference comes as no surprise because they are first and foremost, the defending champions. The Gin Kings will have Greg Slaughter and Japeth Aguilar plus a continuously improving Scottie Thompson as they will enter the new season following a successful Governors' Cup run which ended in a championship celebration. The KaTropa, despite being kicked out of the semifinals by Ginebra in the last conference, will again be bannered by Asia's best point guard, Jayson Castro, and big man Troy Rosario. The three teams will be the teams to beat indeed.
Question: who will win it all?
Answer: The Beermen.
Simply put it this way. Neither Ginebra nor TNT has someone to even match up against the 4-time MVP, June Mar Fajardo. Tim Cone can employ sending his Twin Towers to double team Fajardo but we all know that won't work as SMB also has shooters. And, the best starting 5 is still intact, folks. No other team in the league has that powerful all-locals starting unit.
While SMB may be the among the favorites to win it all, anything is still possible. After all, who would have thought that the finals series between Ginebra and the Meralco Bolts would go to a Game 7?