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PBA Middle East swing starts in Al Shabab Club

Three teams in the fray in encounters over two days

Gulf News

Dubai: Fans will have their fill of top-class hardcourt action as the Philippine Basketball Association — the oldest professional basketball league in Asia — open their two-day Middle East road show today at the Al Shabab Club in Al Mamzar, Dubai.

Winless in Manila, the Rain or Shine Elasto Painters under fiery coach Yeng Guiao hope to put a stop to their downward skid in the Commissioner's Cup as they go up against the Barako Bull Energy Boosters at 8pm tonight, and perennial crow -favourites, Barangay Ginebra Kings, tomorrow.

The Elasto Painters are yet to break into the win column after losing their first two elimination round matches. The Kings and the Energy Boosters are in the middle of the standings with records of 1-1 and 1-2, respectively. The Elasto Painters are reinforced by Duke Crews, a 6ft 7in former All-American who played for the University of Tennessee and Bowie State in the NCAA.

Manning the slot

Dermarr Johnson, who was picked sixth overall by the Atlanta Hawks in the 2000 National Basketball Association (NBA), will man the slot for the Energy Boosters while the Kings are again relying on 7ft 1in centre Chris Alexander, who played a vital role in their last championship run in the 2008-2009 season.

The three teams and officials arrived yesterday morning in Abu Dhabi and travelled straight to Dubai. Last year, the PBA played two matches in Dubai.