If you can't wait to see the three PBA expansion teams strutting their wires, now you will witness a preview of two expansion teams NLEX Road Warriors and Blackwater Sports who will go head-to-head in the 2014 PBA D-League Foundation Cup Finals.
Although the two will enter the PBA with different lineups, expect the two coaches NLEX's Boyet Fernandez and Blackwater's Leo Isaac to still man the team in the pro.
Blackwater Sports and NLEX begin the battle for the Foundation Cup title on Friday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum in a rematch of last year's Foundation's Cup Finals where Blackwater upset the highly-favored NLEX.
Game One of the best-of-three series is set at 1:30 p.m. right before the regular PBA doubleheader at The Big Dome.
Both franchises want to end their D-League stint on a high note before their jump to the PBA in the 2014-2015 season.
NLEX wants revenge and will reassert their domination in the amateur league as the Road Warriors gun for their sixth title.
Blackwater Sports, on the other hand, will be gunning for their second straight Foundation Cup after a surprising sweep of NLEX in 2013 which was led by now pro Justin Chua of San Miguel Beermen who was declared as the Finals' MVP.
Blackwater enter the finals on a six-game win-streak, including a sweep of Jumbo Plastic Linoleum in the semifinals.
“I’m counting on the confidence of my players going to the next level and their desire to play in the finals,” said Isaac.
“Baka makakuha ako ng magandang motivation doon. Makuha ko na ito ’yung panaginip nila na maglaro sa finals. They have to give their all.”
The Road Warriors are undefeated in 11 games, with two big wins against hard-fighting Cebuana Lhuillier in the semis.
NLEX trounced Blackwater, 102-84, in their first meeting early in the conference on March 25 but Road Warriors coach Fernandez has played down the lopsided win, saying he has seen a marked improvement in the Elite from the time they last met.
“Blackwater is a very strong team. They are playing as a team. We are just happy that we are here in the finals,” Fernandez said.
“Sabi ko nga, kapag sa finals, 0-0 na ’yun. We have to be ready against Blackwater,” said Fernandez.
With Chua gone, Blackwater will still rely on big men with the likes of forwards Gilbert Bulawan and ex-pro Reil Cervantes taking the charge in the shaded lane. Jericho Cruz and Kevin Ferrer will take care of Blackwater's outside points.
“Their big guys are quick. Bulawan and Cervantes have been playing well. Their point guards like (John) Pinto and (Mark) Cruz are doing great. Malakas. We will try to find ways to win this one,” said Fernandez.
Isaac admitted that NLEX is still the highly-favored team but believes that winning against the five-time champion is very imminent as what they had proven last year.
“Puwede naming i-recap ’yung mga scenarios doon. Puwede uli namin panoorin ’yung video just to convince them na they also have their offdays. Hopefully, we can catch them on an offday,” said Isaac.
NLEX will rely once again on amateur standouts and reigning MVP Garvo Lanete, Kevin Alas, Ronald and Jake Pascual and Matt Ganuelas.
Expect an all-out-war between the two bad-blood teams.
--- with reports from Spin.ph
PBA-bound teams NLEX Road Warriors and Blackwater Sports battle for the 2014 PBA D-League Foundation Cup Title
Reviewed by Jay-R Bayon-on