To celebrate the eighth year of Zark’s Burger, the 30-branch-strong burger chain is set to debut a team in the stacked 2017 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup.
“We are very excited for this upcoming season of the D-League. Matagal na kaming sumasali sa recreational league but now is the right time to take our team to the next level just like raising the level of our brand,” team owner Zark Espina-Varona shared in a press conference held at Zark’s Burger in Taft Avenue.
The team, aptly named as the Zark’s Burger Jawbreakers — in homage to their best-selling burger — will have Jade Pagadiao calling the shots. Pagadiao had previously coached the Mindanao Aguilas during the 2016 PBA D-League season.
“It was a good experience for me,” Padrigao reflected about his first coaching stint last year. “Yung mga players namin now is galing sa grassroots. We are giving an opportunity for the players pero kailangan competitive pa rin kami.”
To fill up the Jawbreakers, Zark’s conducted numerous tryouts. Moreover, it was the team’s way of helping the grassroots basketball program.
“Salamat sa Zark’s sa pagbibigay ng opportunity sa mga players namin. Nagpa-tryout kami at nakakuha kami ng materyal. Tapos pagkatapos ng ABL, nakuha pa namin si Robby [Celiz],” team manager Sherwin Cantos said.
Serving as the team’s skipper is Robby Celiz, who last campaigned for Alab Pilipinas during the recently-concluded ABL season.
Joining him are Jamil Sheriff, Joseph Nalos, Clark Bautista, Chris Cayabyab, James Mangahas, RR de Leon, Mark Juruena, RJ Argamino, Steven Cufal, Job Cariaga, and Jerome Ferrer.
“Maliit yung line-up namin pero we are maximizing on wings,” Cantos said about the roster.
And the D-League neophytes are not making any promises, saying that their only expectation is to be competitive.
“Yung vision namin dito is the same as our restaurants. We want to be competitive sa start then contend in the future. Tapos hopefully, pag lumaki yung brand, makapasok kami sa PBA,” Espina stated.
“We will be competitive this coming season,” Padrigao vowed.