Christmas Day double-headers at the PBA today; first time with imports after 16 years

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IT will be a slam-bang affair as the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) features an exciting Christmas Day twinbill in today’s games at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Particularly interesting is that today will also be the first time in 16 years that Christmas Day games will feature imports, the last of which was held during the 2005-2006 Fiesta Conference, a game that featured Barangay Ginebra San Miguel, one of the two teams playing tonight, against Alaska, which, ironically, was coached then by current Ginebra coach Tim Cone.

That game was won by Ginebra.

Today’s double-header, entitled “Season of Joy” will also be the first time that two games will be held on Christmas Day, and is also in partnership with the Quezon City government as Mayor Joy Belmonte’s “Pamaskong Handog” for the city’s frontliners.

In the first game (happening now), the NLEX Road Warriors will stake its immaculate 4-0 win streak against the Phoenix Super LPG Fuel Masters, who will also try to snap a 2-game losing skein and get back with a “W” of their own.

At 6:45 pm, meanwhile, the Gin Kings, now with a 3-0 win-loss slate, will aim to keep a spotless record in the 2021 Governors’ Cup and also try to keep its dominance of the “Manila Clasico” series with perennial rival and sister-team Magnolia Ang Pambansang Manok, who also tote a perfect 2-0 record thus far in the current conference.

The Gin Kings have won the previous three editions of the series, from 2015-2017.

However, injuries to at least five players beset the Gin Kings lineup so its never-say-die spirit will again be tested.

Indeed, there’s no motivation needed to pump up both teams’ players, especially now that they are playing again in front of screaming fans, who have longed to watch the games live after an almost two-year break.


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