Looking solely at their record during the 2017 PBA D-League Foundation Cup, the Zark’s Burgers Jawbreakers’ first foray into a semi-professional league was a forgettable one. The Jawbreakers, a team composed of players trying to get back to the pro ranks, were on the receiving end of romps, finishing with a lowly 1-9 slate.
But with every loss, there are learnings to be gained. Just ask Zark’s founder Zark Varona.
“Marami kaming learnings na natutunan from last conference. But the goal kasi last year was to give back to our players,” reflected the young entrepreneur. “Binigyan natin yung mga player natin ng pagkakataon by giving a tryout and give a chance to the likes of Mac Cardona.”
But this time around, Varona found new partners that share the same values as his growing chain of burgers.
For their second season in the D-League, Zark’s Burgers has tied up with NCAA Season 93 Seniors Basketball runners-up Lyceum of the Philippines University Pirates for the 2018 Aspirants’ Cup. In addition, he affiliated the team with PBA club Phoenix Fuel Masters and tapped the services of former Hapee Fresh Fighters team manager Bernard Yang.
“This time, sabi ko we want to associate ourselves to winning and developing a winning culture. That’s why we started by getting a wining manager in sir Bernard (Yang). LPU din,” shared Varona during a get-together Thursday afternoon at Zark’s Burgers in Taft Avenue.
“Yung new program ni coach Topex is aligned with our vision. Hindi nagkakalayo yung vision namin na more than winning, we want to groom good people — same with our company.”
Zark’s Burgers-Lyceum Jawbreakers will be a team composed of the Pirates’ core. Headlining the squad is reigning NCAA MVP CJ Perez. Joining him are Mike Nzeusseu, Jeffrey Santos, Ralph Tansingco, Aldrich Liwag, Reymar Caduyac, Nino Ibanez, Jeric Serrano, Edcor Marata, Jayvee Marcelino, Jaycee Marcelino, Kim Cindo, Spencer Pretta, and Rhanzelle Yong. Former Pirate and 23rd overall pick in the 2017 PBA Draft Wilson Baltazar completes the lineup.
“It’s a new journey for us, we’re excited for the new partnership,” said Zark’s Burgers-Lyceum head coach Topex Robinson.
“Yung hindi namin na-complete nung Season 93, hopefully, ito yung continuation.”
“We are excited kasi bagong opportunity ito para sa amin and para sa LPU. Parang mas exciting pa ito kaysa sa NCAA kasi PBA D-League na ito, semi-pro, so yung mga best amateurs nandito,” added Perez.
For Varona, there’s no more excuses. But besides winning, the more important thing for him is that the Pirates continue what they do, which is to inspire people.
“Based sa maikling pagsasama at pag-uusap namin ni Coach Topex, I’m confident,” shared Varona. “Yung character at yung vision namin, hindi nagkakalayo. Yung pananaw nila at yung goal ng school nila, direction din ng Zark’s.
“It’s time to win.”