By Jerome Lagunzad
Games Today (Pasig Sports Center)
2 p.m. – Gamboa vs Go for Gold
4 p.m. – Che’Lu vs Perpetual
Four school-based teams look to have a fine start today when the PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup brings its act to the refurbished Pasig City Sports Center.
Go for Gold, built around the core of College of St. Benilde, will make its debut at 2 p.m. against a Gamboa Coffee Mix side bannered by NAASCU powerhouse St. Clare.
University of Perpetual Help, now handled by four-time NCAA champion coach Frankie Lim, plunges to action at 4 p.m. opposite newcomer Che’Lu Bar and Grill, led by some of San Sebastian’s vital cogs.
The winners of both matches will gain a share of the early lead being enjoyed by title favorite Marinerong Pilipino which escaped past Zark’s Burgers, 94-92, in the opener last Thursday.
Much of the spotlight should fall on the main match, with Lim, 57, back in the coaching scene after being named by Altas team management last week to take over the coaching reins from former player Nosa Omorogbe.
For sure, Lim will have an early gauge of what the Altas is capable of doing as they start their long buildup for this year’s NCAA seniors basketball wars.
“Proper execution of the things we do in practice, how will they compete against stronger teams and the true the character of this team,” are among the things that Lim wants to see from the Altas.
Nigerian big man Prince Eze, the reigning NCAA Defensive Player of the Year, is expected to man the lane while wingman AJ Coronel, guard Keith Pido and new recruit Edgar Charcos are tipped to provide strong support for the Altas.
Standing in their way are the Revellers, led by the Stags’ vital cogs like Michael Calisaan, Allyn Bulanadi, Ryan Costelo and Jayson David, with veteran Stevenson Tiu calling the shots.
The Blazers, coached by Charles Tiu this time, will bring in the likes of former National University standouts J-Jay Alejandro and Matt Salem plus Arellano star Kent Salado to boost their title bid.
Meanwhile, the Coffee Lovers, with Jinino Manansala at the helm, are eager to make heads turn behind the presence of Junjie Hallare, Chris Bitoon and 6-foot-6 import Mohamed Pare of Mali.