The 2017 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup opens next week with the race to the title as open as it has ever been for the 10 competing teams.
The customary opening ceremonies will usher in the new season on January 19 at 2 p.m. at Ynares Sports Arena followed by AMA Online Education’s clash against Province of Batangas at 3 p.m.
Action continues the following week, with guest team Blustar Detergent-Malaysia and contender Racal locking horns at 3 p.m. on January 23 followed by the duel between last season’s runners-up Cafe France and Tanduay at 5 p.m.
Jose Rizal University makes its season debut on January 24 against Blustar at 3 p.m., before Cignal-San Beda goes up against AMA at 5 p.m.
A meeting between Victoria Sports-MLQU and Wangs Basketball wrap up the opening week on January 26 at 5 p.m.
Other marquee matchups for the conference include the coaching battle between champion mentors Egay Macaraya and Boyet Fernandez when Cafe France plays Cignal on January 30; top picks Teng and Jom Sollano clashing when AMA takes on Racal on February 2; a rematch of last conference’s semifinals tiff between Racal and Tanduay on February 14; and a rematch of last year’s NCAA finalists when San Beda-backed Cignal faces a Racal team bannered by Arellano standouts on March 13.
Four teams will be eliminated after the elimination phase, with the top two gaining outright semifinals berth and the middle teams battling in the quarterfinals.
The semifinals and Finals will both be contested in a best-of-3 series.