Games Thursday
(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
4 p.m. — Terrafirma vs NorthPort
8 p.m. — NLEX vs Phoenix

WILL upgraded Terrafirma make a jolt with fancied rookie Stephen Holt and new recruits?

The Dyip, who ended the previous conference on a seven-game skid and 2-9 overall, see better days ahead in the PBA Season 48 wars with the arrival of Mr. Holt, a 6-foot-4 guard with experience in the NBA G-League and Euro Leagues, together with promising new recruits Kenmark Carino, Taylor Miller and Tommy Olivario.

Coach John Cardel said the newbies and Belgian import Thomas De Thaey have been blending well with Dyip holdovers like Juami Tiongson, Eric Camson, Aldrich Ramos and Isaac Go.

The Dyip and the Batang Pier open hostilities on the third day of the young season at 4 p.m. at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

NLEX and its highly-touted import Thomas Robinson and Phoenix, bannered by fellow NBA vet Jonathan Williams III, clash in a livewire encounter at 8 p.m.

Much attention is on the 32-year-old Mr. Holt, who debuts on Philippine soil after a stellar stint overseas.

“Rookie veteran ito,” said Mr. Cardel of Holt. “He’s team player and he wants to get all his teammates involved.”

Minus last season’s top scorer Robert Bolick, the Batang Pier pin its hopes on Australian Venky Jois, Arvin Tolentino, Josh Munzon, JM Calma and greenhorns Cade Flores, Brent Paraiso, John Amores and Fran Yu.

Meanwhile, the day finally came for NLEX’ Mr. Robinson, Sacramento’s fifth overall pick in the 2012 NBA Draft, to see action in the PBA. He was supposed to reinforce San Miguel Beer last year but a back injury prevented him from doing so.

“I want to win big. I want to be able to lead my team to a successful season. I want to be able to take some of the other players and be able to push them up to another level in this league,” Mr. Robinson said.

Mr. Robinson will be the highest NBA pick to play in the PBA since 1987 third selection Dennis Hopson of Purefoods in 1996. — Olmin Leyba