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Games Today (JCSGO Gym, Cubao)
2 p.m. – AMA vs Phoenix
4 p.m. – Blustar vs Tanduay
Back-to-back title seeking Phoenix shoots for its third straight win while the Malaysian-flavored Blustar Detergent makes its debut when they take on separate rivals today in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup at the JCGSO gym in Cubao.
Phoenix can also get the solo lead with a victory over AMA Online Education in the 2 p.m. opener before Blustar, bannered by locals who played for the ASEAN Basketball League champion Westports Malaysia Dragons, faces a tough obstacle in Tanduay at 4 p.m.
Consistency is what Phoenix coach Eric Gonzales wants from his team even after the Aspirants Cup champion Accelerators opened the conference with a 108-78 rout of the Topstar ZC Mindanao Aguilas and 98-79 mastery of the Tanduay Rhum Masters.
“Binabantayan namin yan every quarter, every possession, kailangan maging consistent kami,” said Gonzales, who will lean once more on the trio of Mac Belo, Ed Daquioag and Mike Tolomia.
“Yan kasi ang hirap sa mga bata, magaling bumalik pag na-down pero pag lamang, nagiging complacent,” he added. “Kailangan pa rin naming respetuhin ang kalaban kasi hindi madali lahat ng magiging laro namin.”
Meanwhile, Blustar is expected to endure a rough sailing against Tanduay with the team missing key players from the Malaysian side that beat the Singapore Slingers in the ABL Finals last March.
With having Fil-foreigners Matthew Wright and Jason Brickman both opting to play in Europe instead of joining their Dragons teammates, Blustar will lean top Malaysian players Ma Kheun Chee, Tian Yuan Kuek, and Kwaan Yoong Jing in the tournament.
Malaysia, now coached by Goh Cheng Huat after Filipino Ariel Vanguardia was hired to coach Phoenix in the PBA, will also be reinforced by two Filipino players in former Ateneo playmaker Juami Tiongson and ex-Arellano center Christian Palma.