Games Monday (San Juan Arena)
2 p.m. – Cebuana Lhuillier vs Jumbo Plastic
4 p.m. – Café France vs Bread Story -Lyceum
Cebuana Lhuillier and newcomer Bread Story-Lyceum go for clinching victories on Monday in their respective PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup quarterfinal match-ups at the San Juan Arena.
Momentum and psychological advantage will be on the side of the Gems and the Pirates, who lived another with a dominating performance against fourth-seed Jumbo Plastic and third seed Café France, respectively, last Thursday to force the rubber-match.
The Gems defeated the Giants, 63-53, while the Pirates outplayed the Bakers, 79-72, to keep their hopes alive of advancing to the next round and join semifinalists-in-waiting Cagayan Valley and Hapee.
The Rising Suns, who swept the 11-game elimination round, and the Fresh Fighters gained outright passage in the best-of-three semifinals by clinching the top two seeding.
“Its 50-50,” said Cebuana Lhuillier coach Boycie Zamar of their chances to repeat in the scheduled 2 p.m. duel. “[Jumbo] is strong team. I’m sure they’ll make the adjustment. The good thing is everything is even. It now all depends on the mindset of the players.”
Cebuana’s backcourt of Paul Zamar, Allan Mangahas and Simon Enciso combined for 40 points as the Gems avenged their 61-63 loss to the Giants in the eliminations.
Zamar claimed his troops has the tendency to doubt themselves when playing elite teams but believes Thursday’s win has changed their outlook and boosted the confidence of the Gems.
Philip Paniamogan tallied 14 points and new recruit Glenn Khobuntin added 12 for the Jumbo Plastic Giants but big men Maclean Sabelina, Jaymo Eguilos, Dexter Maiquez and Dennis Villamor struggled, combining for nine points on 4 of 17 shooting.
Bottom line, the Giants’ frontline must deliver if Jumbo Plastic intends to advance to the Final Four.
Bonnie Tan, the Bread Story-Lyceum coach, also thinks their 4 p.m. showdown with the Bakers could go either way although he is confident his chargers will rise to the challenge.