THE MARINERONG Pilipino Skippers open their title bid in the PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup today with a match against the Zark’s Burger-Lyceum at the Ynares Sports Arena.
Coming off a successful sojourn down south where they captured the title in the Cebu City Sinulog Cup last week, the Skippers will be made to go through an acid test early on as they battle a Zark’s squad powered by the core of the NCAA runners-up.
“We are practically a new team with seven players who just practiced less than three weeks ago. I wish we could have more time to practice as a team because it takes time to learn the system. So chemistry is definitely going to be a disadvantage for us,” said head coach Koy Banal, as he tries to integrate new pieces in rookies Alvin Pasaol, Abu Tratter, and Vince Tolentino in his rotation.
For the Jawbreakers, it’s the prospect of entering unchartered waters that makes coach Topex Robinson wary.
“It’s hard for us to consider ourselves as a top team since we don’t have the experience yet,” he said, noting that as powerful as his side is on paper with NCAA Season 93 MVP CJ Perez leading the way, this will still be a new environment for his side with this being players’ first dip in the developmental league.
Several products of the Cesafi are set to compete in this tournament. This includes former Cesafi Mythical Five forward Conrad Catapusan and ex-University of the Visayas big man Mike Macion, both of whom will be playing for Akari-Adamson.
The Centro Escolar University will have former UV guard Orlan Wamar.