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PBA DL: Racal, Phoenix in crucial matches

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Games Today
(Strike gym, Bacoor)
4 p.m. – Racal vs Tanduay
6 p.m. – Phoenix vs CaféFrance

Racal and Phoenix, armed with the twice-to-beat advantage, hope to arrange a finals showdown as they face separate rivals today in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup semis at the Strike gym in Bacoor, Cavite.

The top seed Tile Masters battle the No. 4 Tanduay Rhum Masters in the 4 p.m. opener before the Accelerators take on the defending champion CaféFrance Bakers in what could be a close encounter between the second and third seeds at 6 p.m.

Both Racal and Phoenix earned the semis bonus after finishing with 1-2 in the double-round eliminations.

Of the four teams seeing action, it was Racal which made the semis on a hot streak, winning six in a row including Tuesday’s 105-76 rout of AMA Online Education that gave the team of coach Caloy Garcia the league’s best record at 10-2.

But Garcia expects a tough challenge from the Rhum Masters despite beating them twice in the eliminations as Kevin Ferrer had given the latter an improved showing during the late stretch of the elims.

“Yung dalawang panalo namin against Tanduay were very close and they have a very-experienced team,” said Garcia. “We haven’t played against Kevin Ferrer yet and that might change our game plan. But we just gonna do what we’ve been doing.”

Jonathan Grey, Philip Paniamogan, Ael Banal, Jackson Corpuz, Jamil Ortuoste and Chris Javier will be tasked to lead Racal’s bid to secure its first finals appearance since joining the league in 2014.

Meanwhile, Phoenix got the twice-to-beat despite tying CafeFrance for second at 9-3 due to a quotient.

While pleased with the bonus, the Accelerators understand that beating the Bakers won’t be easy. They split their two meetings in the elims, aside from enduring a five-game encounter that gave them the Aspirants Cup title last April.

Out to lead Phoenix of coach Eric Gonzales are Mike Tolomia, Mac Belo, Roger Pogoy, Russell Escoto, and Ed Daquioag, while CafeFrance is going to rely on Rod Ebondo, Carl Bryan Cruz, Mon Abundo, and Paul Zamar.

Coach Egay Macaraya returns to the CaféFrance sidelines after serving a one-game suspension in Tuesday’s 93-67 win over Topstar ZC Mindanao.

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