April 13, 2023

D-League Aspirants' Cup gets going on April 27

Reigning champion La Salle-EcoOil rolls the red carpet for new coach Topex Robinson when it shoots for a back-to-back supremacy in the 2023 PBA D-League Aspirants' Cup on April 27 at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.

Only four months after his appointment as the new captain of the ship in Taft, the former Phoenix Fuel Masters tactician gets his first taste of action with the Green Archers, who headline the eight-team cast vying for this year's D-League title.

La Salle, then under mentor Derrick Pumaren, ruled the Aspirants' Cup last year in the D-League's return from a long hiatus due to the pandemic but will face a tall order this time against a bevy of counterparts led by three-peat NCAA champion Letran.

Also in the fray are AMA Online Education, Centro Escolar University-Cafe France, University of Perpetual Help System Dalta, St. Clare, and new squad Philippine Sports Performance Fitness Gym and San Beda-Marinerong Pilipino.

Representatives of the eight teams attended Tuesday's coaches' meeting at the PBA Office in Libis, Quezon City.

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Marinero, led by Conference MVP Juan Gomez de De Lia?o, finished behind La Salle last year after a close finals series loss, 1-2.

The eight aspirants will duke it out in the single-round robin eliminations with the top two teams earning outright tickets to the semifinals.

The third to sixth-ranked squads will qualify in the quarterfinals with the third and fourth-seeded teams enjoying twice-to-beat incentives.

Semis survivors then dispute the crown in a best-of-three finale. (JBU)