IT was one of the busiest teams during the off-season. In fact, Blackwater had been the talk of the town owing to its three big catches in the PBA Draft.
The Elite had also made a good account in their pre-season outings, and at one time, they defeated Barangay Ginebra by three points in Batangas City.
Now, fans and analysts alike have handsome chances of knowing better whether the Elite are for real.
The Elite will parade three prodigious rookies in Mac Belo, Raphael Banal and Tristan Perez as they start their campaign in the PBA Philippine Cup with a game against Phoenix today at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Elite won just one out of their 11 outings in the last Governors’ Cup in a forgettable campaign that probably made the team the priority to pick first in the draft.
Hopefully, their acquisition of Belo, Banal and Perez will add strength in their frontline and bolster their campaign in the All-Filipino Cup that is expected to be a lot tougher with most of the teams getting stronger too.
Analysts are of the opinion that the Elite would have a better ball movement this time around with the presence of the 23-year-old Banal, a stalwart from Hope International University in California, Belo and Perez.
The son of former PBA player Joel had impressed a lot of scouts during off season with his playmaking skill that helped Elite defeat the Gin Kings 103-100, in a game where Belo scored 15 points despite being used sparingly.
Now Belo and Banal will be put to acid test in the 4:15 p.m. encounter with the Fuel Masters who will also parade three promising rookies in Gelo Alolino, Jeff Javillonar and Matthew Wright.
The day will also see Caloy Garcia in his full capacity as head coach of Rain or Shine which will play Talk ‘N Text in the main offering at 7 p.m.
Garcia became head coach of the Elasto Painters when Yeng Guiao decided to transfer to NLEX during off season in a development that also triggered the transfer of Paul Lee to Star Hotshots and JR Quinahan to Globalport.
The Painters though got James Yap in return, and acquired one more promising rookie in Mike Tolomia, a Far Eastern University standout whose outside shooting could very well make Rain or Shine a force to reckon with.
The Tropang Texters are also having a new coach in Nash Racela but will miss him for a few games as the latter still has tour of duty to complete with FEU in the UAAP. The Tamaraws are facing Ateneo in the Final Four this Saturday.
In his place for the meantime is his assistant Josh Reyes. In the event the Tamaraws who are the defending champions here advance to the Finals, Racela could miss two to three more games, depending on how the UAAP championship will go.