FRESH from their rousing championship campaign in the NCAA, members of the San Beda Red Lions suit up for different teams in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup on Thursday at the Trinity University of Asia gym.
Fruitas, which counts on several Red Lions mainstays after forging a tie-up with the three-time NCAA champions, hopes to bounce back from its unfortunate debut when it takes on Cebuana Lhuillier at 4 p.m.
NCAA Finals MVP Baser Amer and Jake Pascual, meanwhile, take their acts to NLEX when the Road Warriors go for their second straight win against Boracay Rum in the curtain raiser at 2 p.m.
The Road Warriors and Gems are actually aiming for a share of the lead with Big Chill, which has a 2-0 win-loss slate.
The Shakers will parade Nigerian Ola Adeogun, Rome Dela Rosa, Kyle Pascual, Arthur Dela Cruz, and Ryusei Koga for the first time against the Gems.
Fruitas lost its first game via forfeiture after Joseph Erioubu, born to a Filipina mother and Nigerian father in Hong Kong, saw action for Café France without prior clearance from the league.
With the five San Beda players not yet in Fruitas’ lineup when it played Café France, Cebuana Lhuillier coach Beaujing Acot has little idea on how the Shakers will play with a full-strength lineup.
“If we intend to beat Fruitas, we have to match its intensity and find a way to stop its dribble-drive penetration,” said Acot, whose team is coming off an 86-76 win over Boracay Rum on opening day.
Amer, Pascual, and the rest of the Road Warriors had a rousing start to their bid for a fourth straight title, trouncing Erase XFoliant, 101-71, even without prized center Greg Slaughter, who is still in the process of completing his eligibility papers.
While Boracay Rum has lost its first two games, NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez said the Road Warriors are not taking the Waves lightly.
“Personally, I’m worried (with Boracay). Their first two games are not an indication of what this team is. Knowing coach Lawrence (Chongson), I’m sure we’ll have a tough game,” Fernandez said.
The NLEX mentor said the team is still in the stage of working on its chemistry since several players were finishing their commitments with their respective school teams.
“As I have said, our team is still a work in progress in terms of chemistry and this type of game is crucial to our bonding,” he said.