MACAU - TNT and Blackwater, two teams that quickly bombed out after the group stage play of the 2019 East Asia Super League Terrific 12, will meet right in their first game for the PBA Governors' Cup on September 25.
But unlike the Terrific 12 where both teams opted to rest their key players or allow them to recover from injuries, PBA fans can expect both teams to field in a complete roster in the upcoming Governors' Cup.
TNT combo guard Jayson Castro played 25 minutes against Liaoning, before sitting it out in the KaTropa's 99-90 win over Niigata Albirex. Troy Rosario, Yousef Taha and Ryan Reyes all did not play, as active team consultant Mark Dickel opted to give seldom-used players a chance to gain experience.
For Blackwater, Mike DiGregorio is expected to be back in harness after dealing with tonsilitis.
The only question though is will Bobby Ray Parks see action against TNT as he continues to recover from an Achilles injury.
With still over a week to go before their PBA debut, Blackwater coach Aris Dimaunahan is optimistic that the Elite's young star can recover in time.
"As of now, Rayray is getting better from his injury and our PT is taking good care of him. We're hoping he'll be able to help us in our first game against TNT back home," shared Dimaunahan, whose team returned to Manila on Friday.
The Elite are looking to redeem themselves from a disappointing Commissioner's Cup campaign. Blackwater actually entered the quarterfinals as the third seed, but the team bowed to Rain or Shine, 2-1 in their best-of-three series.
Hopes are high though for the Elite, who will have former PBA Best Import Marqus Blakely as its import. The athletic Blakely is taking the spot of Aaron Fuller, who sprained his ankle a week ago in practice.
The 6-foot-4 Parks averaged 22.1 points, 7.1 rebounds, 3.4 assists and 1.4 steals for Blackwater in his first conference in the PBA.