Early favorites Zark’s Burger-Lyceum of the Philippines University and Marinerong Pilipino square off as the Philippine Basketball Association Developmental League (PBA D-League) Aspirants’ Cup 2018 begins today at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
The Jawbreakers and the Skippers face off in the season-opening game at 4 p.m.
With defending champion Cignal HD-San Beda College opting to skip the opening conference, the two squads are heavily favored to bag the crown.
Zark’s Burger is expected to redeem itself from a disappointing maiden stint last year with Topex Robinson and his Lyceum cagers taking over.
Reigning National Collegiate Athletic Association Most Valuable Player CJ Perez will banner the young squad along with latest Rookie of the Year awardee Jaycee Marcelino and Cameroonian big man Mike Nzeusseu.
Marinerong Pilipino will also parade a retooled lineup after getting University of the East’s top gunner Alvin Pasaol, De La Salle University’s Abu Tratter and Ateneo De Manila University’s graduate Vince Tolentino during the draft last month.
Seasoned tactician Koy Banal will also have veteran crews Gab Banal and Renzo Subido in their bid to win a maiden trophy.
Marinero enjoyed a splendid run in the Foundation Cup 2017, barging into the semifinals but falling prey to Cignal-San Beda in two games.
Besides the two contenders, 11 other squads, 10 of which are school-based, will be aiming for the Aspirants’ Cup championship. They are Akari-Adamson University, Go for Gold-College of St. Benilde, Wangs Basketball-Colegio de San Juan de Letran, Che’Lu Bar & Grill-San Sebastian College, Gamboa Coffee-St. Clare College, Batangas- Emilio Aguinaldo College, Centro Escolar University, Jose Rizal University, University of Perpetual Help System DALTA, AMA Online Education and Mila’s Lechon.