THE traditional contenders begin to dive into action on Sunday, with the Barangay Ginebra Kings, the 2018 PBA Commissioner’s Cup champions, taking on the Converge FiberXers at 6:45 p.m. at the MOA Arena in Pasay City.
All eyes will be on the Gin Kings with their talented cast further bolstered by marquee business acquisitions Jamie Malonzo of NorthPort and Von Pessumal of San Miguel Beer.
Malonzo and Pessumal link up with former Kings mainstays Japeth Aguilar, Christian Standhardinger, LA Tenorio, Scottie Thompson, Stanley Pringle and import Justin Brownlee in another title bid for the Gin Kings after six previous titles under coach Tim Cone.
Cone sees Malonzo as a potential cornerstone for the league’s most popular ball club.
“Jamie is young, athletic, long and explosive. What’s not to love? He’s a player we can build around over the next few years,” Cone said of the former La Salle player they acquired in exchange for Arvin Tolentino and Prince Caperal, two vital cogs in their playoffs over the past three years, and their first-round pick in the 2023 draft.