THREE-TIME champion NLEX and Cebuana Lhuillier try to grab a piece of the lead in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup today when they battle separate foes at Trinity University of Asia gym in Quezon City.
The Road Warriors, dubbed by their coach as a team “still a work in progress,” shoot for a second straight triumph against the winless Boracay Rum at 2 p.m. while the Gems also gun for a 2-0 start versus Fruitas in the second game at 4 o’clock.
“My players have the talent, but how we’re going to play as a team still worries me,” said NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez. “As I have said, our team is still a work in progress in terms of chemistry.”
The Road Warriors lost several key cogs to the pros yet assembled another formidable cast bannered by collegiate stars Nico Salva, RR Garcia, Kevin Alas, Ian Sangalang and Baser Amer.
And they showcased their firepower in their first assignment where they coasted to a 30-point crushing of Erase Xfoliant, 101-71, last week.
The Gems also got off to a good start by forging an 86-76 victory over Boracay Rum behind June Dizon and James Mangahas.
Fruitas also had a victorious league debut over Café France, 88-82, but league commissioner Chito Salud forfeited the Shakers’ win for fielding an ineligible player.
Shakers coach coach Nash Racela acknowledged his error in fielding Joseph Erioubu, a Filipino-Nigerian who has yet to complete the documents the league requires.
“We need to learn and move forward,” said Racela.
Greg Slaughter’s stint for NLEX similarly remains on hold until Ateneo’s towering Filipino-American star meets the league requirements.