A SLEW of talented recruits makes Cebuana Lhuillier a title contender anew in the PBA D-League Foundation’s Cup.
But coach Luigi Trillo hopes his crew won’t fall short this time as the Gems kick off their bid against Boracay Rum at 4 p.m. at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
“I think we have added quality pieces,” said Trillo.
Erase Plantcenta, one of two new teams this conference, debuts against Cafe France at 2 p.m.
Defending champion NLEX and Blackwater Sports disposed their respective foes in the league opener last Tuesday for the lead in the 10-team field.
The Gems absorbed several players from Freego Jeans, which reached last conference’s finals but opted to skip this tournament.
Adamson guard Lester Alvarez, an MVP candidate last conference, leads the recruits that also includes Janus Lozada, Jeckster Apinan, Raymond Maconocido and Bacon Austria.
Trillo also expects Letran star Kevin Alas to provide the Gems stability even if their squad lost the backcourt tandem of Jai Reyes and Terrence Romeo.
Far Eastern U”s Romeo got recalled by his school, while Reyes joined the Bangkok Cobras in the Asean Basketball League.
Boracay Rum coach Lawrence Chongson hopes his Waves, powered by Ken Acibar and Kokoy Hermosisima, will show more consistency this conference.