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UP-QRS-JAM, BDO-NU clash in D-League opening day festivities

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By Ivan Saldajeno

SAN JUAN, MM--An all-UAAP battle between UP-QRS-JAM and BDO-NU will highlight the first day of the 2016 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup on Jan. 21 at the FilOil Flying V Arena.

The Fighting Maroons and the Bulldogs, who begged off from competition during the entire 2015 season for their UAAP preparations, will lock horns in the second game of the scheduled doubleheader at 4 p.m.

In the curtain-raiser at 2 p.m., Caida, formerly KeraMix, and Tanduay will take on each other.

The Racal franchise, which once opted to be known under the name Alibaba before eventually settling for the Caida name, will be parading top draft pick Jason Perkins, while Tanduay will be debuting third overall pick Von Pessumal.

Before the said fight card, there will be a formal opening at 1 p.m.

Action will then shift to the Ynares Sports Arena for the following week as two more school-based clubs, Cafe France-CEU and Phoenix-FEU, will start their own campaigns.

The Bakers, who won last year's Foundation Cup finals, will take on the debuting Mindanao Aguilas on Jan. 25 at 2 p.m., while the Tamaraws, the reigning UAAP titlists and recently crowned PCCL co-champions who once came to the league as the Fruitas Shakers, will square off with Wangs at 4 p.m.

AMA, featuring second overall pick Julian Sargent, will finally make its debut the day later also at the Ynares Sports Arena as it battles Caida at 2 p.m., just before Tanduay and UP-QRS-JAM battle each other at 4 p.m.

All the nine clubs will be playing in a single round robin eliminations with the team finishing last getting eliminated. Ties will be decided solely by the PBA quotient system.

The remaining eight teams will then enter the quarterfinals with the top four teams holding a twice-to-beat advantage against the other four on 1-vs-8, 4-vs-5, 2-vs-7, and 3-vs-6 pairings.

The four quarterfinal winners will clinch best-of-three semifinals berths with the victors of the first two aforementioned quarterfinal pairings battling each other and the other two winners making the other semifinal pairing.

The winning semifinalists will then move on to a best-of-five series that will determine the Aspirants Cup champion.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno