MARINERONG Pilipino-San Beda battles newcomer Philippine Sports Performance in an interesting duel opening hostilities in the PBA D-League Aspirants' Cup which unfurls Thursday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
Game time is at 2 p.m. with the Red Lions out to open their campaign on a bright note but a surprise from the debuting Gymers is not being discounted.
The Mendiola-based squad is heavily favored to win handilly, but second-year mentor Yuri Escueta refused to be carried away claiming that San Beda is still a work in progress.
"What we have is a new team with the graduation and transfer of many players. We're hoping the other guys will step up," said Escueta.
San Beda, which made it to the NCAA's Final Four last season, lost key cogs James Kwekuteye, JB Bahio and Ralph Peneula to graduation while Tony Ynot and Justine Sanchez left the team this offseason.
In their absence, Escueta is banking on capable holdovers Yukien Andrada, Alex Visser, Pedro Alfaro, Damie Cuntapay, Gabriel Cometa and JV Gallego to hold the fort for the Red Lions.
PSP, coached by John Paolo Lao, also hopes to provide a tough challenge in its D-League debut after a productive campaign in the Pilipinas Super League.
Former pros Jonjon Gabriels and Hezy Val Acu?a headline the Gymers, owned by Phoebus Apollo Samson. (JBU)