14 teams to compete in PBA D-League
MANILA, Philippines – Fourteen teams – including five new ball clubs – will compete in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup starting Thursday at the Ynares Sports Arena.
According to PBA.ph, the BDO-National University, Zambales M. Builders-Trinity, Derulo Accelero-UP, Air 21 Arellano and San Juan based basketball club Wangs are the new teams that will challenge the league’s mainstays in its fourth season.
The league’s old reliables are still the title favorites – the NLEX Road Warriors, Blackwater Sports, Big Chill and Boracay Rhum.
“We are optimistic of our chances,” Blackwater Sports' Leo Isaac told PBA.ph. “But it’s a long journey ahead. Fourteen teams, mahaba-habang laro iyan. Siyempre, hindi naman natin pwede i-underestimate ‘yung ibang teams.” [http://pba.inquirer.net/32973/14-teams-usher-in-pba-d-league-2014-season]
Café Bakers-CEU and Cebuana Lhuiller-UE are the two others team with school-based programs.
“We just want to use this as an avenue to improve the game of our players,” said UE coach Boycie Zamar, whose Red Warriors missed out on the Final Four in the recent UAAP season. “Magandang preparation rin kasi ito for the next UAAP season.”
Meanwhile, NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez last week said he is not yet sure about the team that he will field in the Aspirants Cup as his championship core, including Greg Slaughter, RR Garcia and Eric Camson, have all declared for the PBA Draft.
NLEX will likely field in a team composed of the core of the NCAA champions San Beda Red Lions.
But in an interview with the PBA D-League website, Fernandez admitted that he is finding it difficult to finalize his roster, as the NCAA basketball tournament is still ongoing. [http://pbadleague.com.ph/news-page/1382323044/]
“Frankly speaking, I still don’t know who will be my holdovers and new players until now, because the NCAA season is still in its elimination phase. Players are not allowed to practice or sign up with teams,” he said. “Hopefully, we can still be competitive this conference and defend our crown.”
The tournament will be held in a single-round robin eliminations format, with the top two teams earning outright berths in the semi-finals. The next four teams will advance to the quarter-finals, with the third and fourth ranked teams having a twice-to-beat advantage.