(Ynares Sports Arena)
3 p.m.--Gamboa vs Zark's
5 p.m.-- Cignal vs Flying V
CIGNAL opens its quest for a back-to-back championship against newcomer Flying V as the PBA D-League Foundation Cup tips off on Thursday at the Ynares Sports Arena.
Except for Davon Potts, the Hawkeyes won’t have the core of NCAA champion San Beda, as they are bracing for a tough match-up with the Thunder powered by Jeron Teng at 5 p.m.
Rookie squads Zark's Burgers and Gamboa Coffee collide in the day's other game at 3 p.m.
There are 11 teams competing in the season-ending tournament.
Other clubs competing are AMA Online Education, Batangas, Centro Escolar University, Marinerong Pilipino, Racal Motors, Tanduay and Wang's Ballclub.
Tournament format calls for a single-round eliminations, with the top two teams advancing to the semifinals outright, while the four other squads progressing to the quarterfinals.
Aspirants' Cup MVP Robert Bolick and Javee Mocon, the hero of last month's title-clinching win against Racal, won't be around for Cignal.
Ex-pros Pamboy Raymundo and Harold Arboleda, Mark Bringas, Byron Villarias and Alfred Batino will spearhead the Hawkeyes along with new acquisition Dan Sara.
Potts, one of the Red Lions stalwarts in the coming NCAA wars, will play for seven games for Cignal to fulfill his requirements for the PBA draft.
Teng, formerly of AMA, and Eric Salamat setting aside their rivalries to lead the charge for Flying V.
Hans Thiele, Jan Colina, Jerick Cañada, Aris Dionisio and Thomas Torres will also play vital roles for the Thunder under coach Eric Altamirano.