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Zark’s likes its D-League chances

By Jerome Lagunzad

Zark’s Burgers is eager to change its image, so don’t be surprised if the Jawbreakers will be among the teams to beat in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup that gets going on Jan. 18 next year.

After winning just one match in their debut campaign in the Foundation Cup last season, Zark’s Burgers management is pulling out all the stops for a strong bounce-back campaign.

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“Now, we want to associate our brand with winning. It’s time to win,” said Zark’s Burgers team owner Commie Varona, wasting little time in setting out the Jawbreakers’ ultimate goal on their second stint in the developmental league.

As one of the country’s top young entrepreneurs, Varona knows success can’t be achieved overnight.

Varona feels he has just put himself – and the Jawbreakers as well – on the right path by hooking up with veteran team manager Bernard Yang as the team representative whom he believes “has that winning mentality.”

Yang, 44, certainly has concrete proof to back it up.

He served as the team manager when Hapee Toothpaste and Fash Liquid bagged back-to-back titles in the defunct Philippine Basketball League in 2003 and 2004.

Then he was also in charge when the Fresh Fighters made their return to the amateur cage scene in 2015 and marked that in all too familiar winning moment by capturing the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup crown, with former pro league great Ronnie Magsanoc calling the shots.

This time, Yang will have to rekindle that winning flair with the help of Lyceum Pirates, who made big waves in the previous NCAA tournament where they completed an 18-game sweep of the elimination round—the first in league history.

“Hopefully madala ko dito ‘yung experience ko mag-manage ng team dito sa Zark’s Burgers-Lyceum at makuha namin ‘yung championship,” said Yang.

Varona is optimistic that they can attain such lofty goal, with coach Topex Robinson bringing in the core of the Pirates that includes star guard CJ Perez, Cameroon big man Mike Nzeusseu, and the Marcelino twins—Jaycee and Jayvee.

“This is a good opportunity for us, as a team and as a school, obviously as part of the Zark’s Burgers team. The more opportunity for us to really hone our skills, the better for everybody,” said Robinson.