MANILA, Philippines – Cebuana Lhuillier and Big Chill look to sustain their stellar forms when they clash with separate rivals Thursday in the PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup at the Trinity University of Asia Gym in Quezon City.
The Gems square off with newcomer Dub Unlimited in the second game at 4 p.m., after the Superchargers tangle with the debuting RnW Pacific Pipes.
Victories by the Gems and Superchargers will put them in a share of top spot with Blackwater Elite.
Cebuana Lhuillier debuted in style last Thursday, trouncing Cobra Energy Drink, 58-47, while the Superchargers, brandishing better teamwork, overcame the Ironmen, 82-76.
RnW Pacific Pipes coach Topex Robinson, who steered San Sebastian to a second-place finish in the NCAA basketball tournament, said he expects his chargers to struggle in their debut.
“Big Chill is a strong team with an intact lineup,” Robinson said of the Superchargers, who will be powered by Jewel Ponferrada and Alex Mallari.
With its lineup boasting former pros and collegiate hotshot Jeric Teng, Dub Unlimited has the tools to pull off an upset against the Gems, who will be led by Letran’s Kevin Alas and Far Eastern U’s Terrence Romeo.
The Wheelers bowed to the Elite, 62-78, in their first game, but Gems coach Luigi Trillo said that loss doesn’t reflect the true strength of their lineup.
“I expect them to come out stronger than the game Blackwater,” said Trillo.
The Gems needed a strong defensive effort to hold off the Ironmen as their offense sputtered. Trillo said he would need more of the same defensive effort against a team that has former pro Bambam Gamalinda and big men Raymund Aguilar and Roel Hugnatan.