A tight race is expected once the upcoming PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup opens shop next week.
In the running to be the favorite this conference is the reigning Foundation Cup champion CafeFrance, the only team left from the 13 teams which made up the inaugural conference way back in 2011.
Continuity has been the key for the Bakers as coach Egay Macaraya as his team won its first-ever crown last year by utilizing the core of his many-time NAASCU champion Centro Escolar University.
This time, he hopes to his CEU stars in Rod Ebondo, Samboy de Leon and Mon Abundo continue to play at the highest level as they look to be the D-League’s new “dynasty” following the departure of teams like NLEX, Blackwater, Hapee, Cagayan and Cebuana Lhuillier.
“Of course we will compete to the best of our capabilities and we will try to duplicate our achievement last conference,” said CafeFrance coach Egay Macaraya.
Four other school based squads will also be in the mix, led by Phoenix Petroleum which will be backed by reigning UAAP champion Far Eastern University.
BDO-National University will also be making its return and so is AMA University while Jam Liner – University of the Philippines will be making its debut in the tournament.
“With a lot of new players and new teams this season of the D-League should be very interesting and exciting,” said PBA commissioner Chito Narvasa.
Completing the cast of teams are the Tanduay Light Rhum Masters, Caida Tiles, Mindanao Aguilas and the returning Wang’s Basketball.
The tournament will open with a double header at The Arena on January 21.