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Jumbo, Hapee dispute final semis berth

Game Today (Ynares Arena)
3 p.m. – Jumbo Plastic vs Hapee

Stevenson Tiu believes Jumbo Plastic is among the league’s top four teams. It’s now up to the Giants to prove their coach right.

Standing in their way are the Hapee Fresh Fighters, who are seeking a title double but found themselves instead trying to avoid elimination.

The two teams face-off in a knockout match on Thursday to dispute the last semifinal berth in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup.

The Giants, who need to beat Hapee twice to advance to the next round, staved off elimination with an 87-83 victory against the Aspirants’ Cup champions on Monday to force the rubber match.

“I have told the guys our rightful place is in the Top Four. It’s now up to them to prove they belong in this league,” said Tiu.

“We have come this far and it would be truly frustrating if we allow this opportunity to slip away. We have to go for the kill.”

The winner of the 3 o’clock encounter at the Ynares Arena will advance to a best-of-three semifinal series against league-leader Cebuana Lhuillier. The other semifinal pits second seed Café France against Cagayan Gerrys.

Jaymo Eguilos and Glenn Khobuntin each scored 13 points to lead Jumbo Plastic’s balanced scoring. But it was the second unit who made the difference. The Giants’ reserves outscored Hapees’, 58-11.

Hapee, which advanced to the quarterfinals with a twice-to-beat advantage, had a chance to eliminate the Giants last Monday but came up short in the closing minutes.

Art dela Cruz tallied 26 points and Baser Amer contributed 21 but the Fresh Fighters could the job done because center Ola Adeogun (17 points, 18 rebounds) disappeared when Hapee needed somebody to dominate the game. The 6-foot-7 Nigerian managed just two points and six rebounds in the second half.