Banal, Robinson play down early favorites tag as Skippers, Jawbreakers clash in D-League opener
Koy Banal and Topex Robinson will lead their respective teams as Marinerong Pilipino battles Zark's Burger in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup opener. 

TWO of the early title favorites clash in the PBA D-League Aspirants' Cup opener on Thursday.

Marinerong Pilipino takes on Zark's Burger-Lyceum at 4 p.m. following the opening ceremonies at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig. 

Coaches of both teams, though, downplayed the title contenders tag, saying they haven't proven anything yet.

For Skippers coach Koy Banal, chemistry will be their main concern with new players like Alvin Pasaol, Abu Tratter, and Vince Tolentino at his disposal.

While they are undeniably a top-tier team on paper, Banal said they are a relatively new team that opened its training camp three weeks ago.

"I wish we could have more time to practice as a team because it takes time to learn the system. So chemistry is definitely going to be a disadvantage for us," Banal said.

Zark's Burger coach Topex Robinson, on the other hand, said that while his core reached the NCAA Season 93 finals via an elimination round sweep, the PBA D-League is a different league altogether.

"It’s hard for us to consider ourselves as a top team since we don’t have the experience yet," Robinson said.

Nonetheless, both tacticians are thrilled to go up against each other and jumpstart the new season. 

"They are a solid team that has a very smart coach," Banal said. "Zark’s will be a handful for us but we’re a formidable team and hopefully, we’ll be able to fast track everything in time for our first game." 

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