Game Today (Ynares Sports Arena,Pasig City)
3 p.m. – Hapee vs Cebuana Lhuillier
(Series tied 1-1)
Hapee Toothpaste and Cebuana Lhuillier dispute the last finals berth today in the deciding third game of their PBA D-League Foundation Cup semifinal series at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
All eyes will be on the Gems’ Allan Mangahas in the 3 p.m. duel as the former Mapua standout kept his team alive with an awesome performance last Thursday.
Mangahas erupted for 40 points, tying the league record for most points in a single game set by AMA’s Jerramy King a few weeks ago, as Cebuana prevented Hapee from entering the finals with a 76-73 victory.
But despite the win, Cebuana Coach Boycie Zamar remains wary of Hapee’s ability to bounce back from insurmountable odds this conference.
“We cannot be happy yet. Hapee may be undermanned they have already proven that they are winners and champions,” Zamar said. “We haven’t proven anything yet. We have topped the eliminations but that doesn’t mean anything.”
Hapee isn’t new to this kind of situation after surviving Jumbo Plastic in a knockout quarterfinals match last June 4.
Fresh Fighters Coach Ronnie Magsanoc said his team will try to make most of the situation as they seek their second straight finals appearance after winning the Aspirants Cup in February.
“We’ve already played five do-or-die games. We thought we were already out as early as last month,” he said. “We are thankful for the opportunity to play again. We’ll just give our best and do what or takes to hopefully get past them.”
Many are expecting Hapee to throw everything at Mangahas, who almost single-handedly carried Cebuana from the brink of elimination to the brink of its first finals appearance since losing to NLEX in the inaugural Foundation Cup in 2011.
The winner will face CaféFrance in a best-of-three championship series which begins on Thursday.
CaféFrance earned its first-ever finals appearance since joining the league as one of its original members in 2011 by sweeping Cagayan-Gerry’s in the other semifinal pairing. (Christian Jacinto)