DEFENDING champion Blackwater Sports and five-time titlist NLEX test each other’s mettle in an early marquee match-up in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup which reels off on March 24 at The Arena in San Juan.
The Elite and Road Warriors are set to battle on March 25, a day after the opener of the season-ending tournament at the JCSGO Gym in Quezon City in a rematch between last year’s Finals protagonists.
Game time is set at 2 p.m.
Blackwater Sports swept NLEX during the Foundation Cup title series last year, ending the Road Warriors championship streak at four.
The Road Warriors, however, bounced back from the setback by winning their fifth crown during the Aspirants Cup just last February.
As added sidelight to the meeting, both Blackwater and NLEX recently also applied for membership in the PBA as two possible expansion teams for the league’s 40th season.
Meanwhile, Café France and Derulo Accelero usher in the new conference in the first game of a tripleheader on March 24, set at 10 a.m. at The Arena in San Juan.
Boracay Rum clashes with Cagayan Valley at 12 noon, while Cebuana Lhuillier battles Jumbo Plastic Linoleum at 2 p.m.
Big Chill, which lost to NLEX in last conference’s title showdown, takes on Hog’s Breath Café at 12 noon prior to the Blackwater-NLEX match the following day.
The first week of the tournament ends with NLEX taking on Boracay Rum at 2 p.m. and Hog’s Breath Café facing Café France at 4 p.m. on March 27 at the Trinity University of Asia Gym.
Ten teams will be seeing action in the conference, whose games will also be held at the Meralco Gym and Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.