Games Thursday (JCSGO Gym, Cubao)
12 n.n. – Racal Motors vs MJM Builders
2 p.m. – Jumbo Plastic vs Hapee
4 p.m. – Bread Story/LPU vs MP Hotel
After a 10-day rest, unbeaten Hapee resumes its campaign against Jumbo Plastic in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup on Thursday, hoping to pick up some momentum heading to next week’s much-awaited showdown with co-leader Cagayan Valley.
The well-rested Fresh Fighters test the mettle of the Giants at 2 p.m. at the JCSGO Gym in Cubao, Quezon City, looking to nail their 10th win in a game that is equally important to Jumbo Plastic.
Hapee and Cagayan Valley have already reached the semifinals. But Ronnie Magsanoc, the Fresh Fighters coach, constantly urge his troops to stay focused and continue to play at high level.
“Instead of thinking na wala ng pressure, we always find ways to get better. Humihirap pa lang ang laban. We always want them [Fresh Fighters] to feel the pressure for them to be able to handle pressure when the tournament goes deep,” Magsanoc said.
The Fresh Fighters should easily dominate the Giants with big men Ola Adeogun and Arnold Van Opstal back from their holiday vacations.
“We are hoping for a good outcome [against Jumbo Plastic] so we can get some momentum heading to the Cagayan battle,” Magsanoc said.
Hapee and Cagayan Valley face each other on Jan. 22 in a matchup many consider as a championship preview.
Jumbo Plastic have struggled lately due to injuries and other issues but managed to hang on to fourth spot. With a 6-3 record, the Giants are just 1 ½ game ahead of Cebuana Lhuillier in the tug-of-war for the other twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals.
“This is a very crucial game for us. It will be tough to win against Hapee considering their deep lineup. Hopefully we could compete and see what happens,” said Jumbo Plastic coach Stevenson Tiu.