|Marinerong Pilipino is among the favorites to win. PBA Media Bureau (file photo)|
By Dugout Philippines
MANILA--Touted as the top contenders in the 13-team field this conference, both Zark’s Burger-Lyceum and Marinerong Pilipino aren’t willing to buy on their respective hypes just yet as they highlighted their weaknesses to start the 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup.
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.
In contrast, Skippers coach Koy Banal highlighted the importance of chemistry in competing in this tournament, something he knows that his side lacks on.
“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,” he said, as he tries to integrate new pieces in rookies Alvin Pasaol, Abu Tratter, and Vince Tolentino in his rotation.
Ready or not, though, the two teams must wager through those flaws as they raise the curtain for the eighth season of the D-League on Thursday at Ynares Sports Arena.
Players from all 13 teams, 11 of which are school-based squads, will partake in the opening ceremonies scheduled at 3 p.m., before hostilities begin at 4 p.m.
And as of now, the two mentors share the same excitement for the duel which will be the lone tiff in opening day.
“I’m excited to have an opportunity to play against a well-coached team with a good set of players,” said Robinson.
Banal chimed in: “They are a solid team that has a very smart coach. Zark’s will be a handful for us but we’re a formidable team and hopefully, we’ll be able to fast track everything in time for our first game.”
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