MANILA – The PBA D-League returns to its 2023 season on Thursday with seven teams competing.
PBA deputy commissioner Eric Castro said he is expecting tough grinds among the squad, especially the collegiate teams in the field as this is part of their preseason buildup.
“Magaganda ang games natin (The games will be exciting) because it’s the team’s way of developing their players in preparation for their respective mother leagues,” Castro said during the Philippine Sportswriters Association Forum on Tuesday at the PSC conference room inside the Rizal Memorial Sports Complex.
Defending champion La Salle-EcoOil makes a return as the only representative from the University Athletic Association of the Philippines, while three National Collegiate Athletic Association contenders, Marinerong Pilipino-San Beda, Wangs-Letran, and Perpetual Help, are also joining.
Universities and Colleges Basketball League powerhouse Centro Escolar University and the National Athletic Association of Schools, Colleges, and Universities’ AMA complete the amateur teams in the field.
A seventh team, the Philippine Sports Performance (PSP), is the only non-collegiate squad in the field.
To be called the Gymers, PSP is bringing along the core of the Cagayan De Oro team that played in the PSL Dumper Cup to be backstopped by former PBA players Jon-Jon Gabriel and Val Acuña.
PBA stars CJ Perez, Jericho Cruz, and Jack Corpuz will be part of John Paolo Lao’s coaching staff for PSP.
The Gymers face the Red Lions in the tournament opener at 2 p.m. Thursday, while the Green Archers battle the Scorpions in the main game at 4 p.m., both happening at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
After a single round-robin elimination round, the top two teams will enter the semifinals outright, while the next four teams will play in the quarterfinals.
The third and fourth seeds will hold twice-to-beat advantages against the fifth and sixth seeds.
The semis and the finals are all best-of-three affairs. (PNA)