All set for 12-team DLeague Foundation Cup
“This will be a very exciting and competitive conference... With three new teams joining the league, defending the crown will be tough,” said NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez. Jerome Ascano

THREE new teams join the fray and hope to pull off what several other clubs have failed to do — topple powerhouse NLEX — in the PBA D-League as the Foundation Cup starting on Tuesday at The Arena in San Juan.

NLEX is still the only team to win in the PBA D-League, ruling all four previous conferences.

EA Regen Medical Group, Jumbo Plastic, and Hogs Breath Café will join nine teams that saw action in the Aspirants Cup that concluded just two weeks ago.

Again looking to steal the show from the Road Warriors are last conference’s runner-up Cagayan Valley, Blackwater Sports, Big Chill, Boracay Rum, Café France, Cebuana Lhuillier, Fruitas, and Informatics.

“This will be a very exciting and competitive conference,” said NLEX head coach Boyet Fernandez. “With three new teams joining the league, defending the crown will be tough.”

In a statement, PBA Commissioner Chito Salud expects the gains in the Aspirants Cup will continue this conference.

“The just concluded Aspirants’ Cup saw the rise of new stars and new rivalries. I expect no less this conference. The Foundation Cup, with three new teams taking part, promises to be as thrilling and exciting,” said Salud.

Opening day features a tripleheader with Cebuana Lhuillier taking on Boracay Rum at 12 p.m., Fruitas battling newcomer Jumbo Plastic at 2 o’clock, and NLEX facing off with Big Chill at 4 p.m.

The elimination round will be a single round robin with the top two teams clinching outright semifinal berths. The next four teams will enter the quarterfinal stage with the third and fourth ranked teams holding twice-to-beat advantages.

The semifinals and finals will be a best-of-three affair.

Follow the writer on Twitter: @reubensports