MANILA, Philippines – NLEX’s bid for a fifth straight PBA D-League championship starts Tuesday as the Foundation Cup rolls off.
Fresh off their Aspirants Cup conquest, the Road Warriors square off with Big Chill in the main game of a three-game slate at the San Juan Arena.
NLEX remains as the odds-on favorite to win but head coach Boyet Fernandez thinks it will be a tough opening-game assignment with his team still ailing with injuries.
“Half of the team played with injury during our titular series with the Cagayan Rising Suns and they are still recuperating at this time. Then there are some issues that have been hounding the team the past week, I think they will be a factor,” Fernandez said.
“I still don’t know yet who will show up to play tomorrow (Tuesday). This game will be a tough one but we will not give up. We will fight to the end,” he added.
The Superchargers are looking to redeem themselves after a poor showing in the previous conference where they got booted out in the quarterfinals.
Easier said than done though, with Big Chill having to go through without its key players Rodney Brondial, Jessie Collado, Jonathan Semira, Jam Cortes and Ryan Buenafe.
“We had frustrating performance last conference and we are aching to redeem ourselves this conference. We lost badly to NLEX last conference that is why we have prepared hard and hopefully we can give NLEX a good fight,” said Big Chill head coach Robert Sison, who admitted that his team will have to play “a near-perfect game to have a chance of keeping the game close.”
Meanwhile, four other teams debut with Cebuana Lhuillier going up against Boracay Rum in the opener before new team Jumbo Plastic tangles with Fruitas.