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NLEX has tough time forming D-League team

Manila, Philippines – NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez remains clueless about the composition of his team with just a little over a week away to opening day of the 2013 PBA D-League season.

BOYET FernandezThe impending departure of seven-footer Greg Slaughter, shooting-guard RR Garcia, forward Eric Camson, who have made themselves available for the upcoming PBA Rookie Draft scheduled on Nov. 3, has prompted the defending champion Road Warriors to put up a school-based team featuring the core of reigning NCAA champion San Beda Red Lions.

But Fernandez said he is having a tough time finalizing his roster because the NCAA basketball season is not yet over. The collegiate league prohibits its players from practicing or signing up with commercial teams while the tournament is still ongoing.

“Frankly speaking I still don’t know who will be my holdovers and new players until now because the NCAA season is still in its elimination phase and players are not allowed to practice or sign up with teams,” said Fernandez, whose bid for a fifth consecutive championship was foiled by eventual Foundation Cup champion Blackwater Sports last conference.

“Hopefully we can still be competitive this conference and defend our crown.”

The Aspirants’ Cup commences on October 24 with a double-header at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.

Fourteen teams, including newcomers Arellano University, Banco de Oro, Derulo Accelero Oilers, Zambales M-Builders and Wang’s Basketball Team, are seeing action in the tournament. The other participants Blackwater Sports, Big Chill, Cebuana Lhuillier, Café France, Boracay Rum, Cagayan Valley, Hog’s Breath and Jumbo Plastic.

Tournament format calls for a single-round robin eliminations with the top two teams earning outright semifi nal berths. The next four teams will advance to the quarterfinals with the 3rd and 4th ranked teams earning a twice-to-beat advantage.

The bottom eight teams will be eliminated.