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PBA DL: Skippers vs Tanduay

By: Jerome Lagunzad

Game Today
(Ynares Sports Arena)
4 p.m. – Marinerong Pilipino vs Tanduay

Given by surging Marinerong Pilipino a golden opportunity to see action in the playoff round, Fil-American gunner Robbie Herndon didn’t disappoint the last time out.

And the former San Francisco State standout intends to pick up from where he left off as the Skippers go at it anew with the Tanduay Rhum Masters today in their knockout quarterfinal duel in the 2017 PBA D-League Foundation Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.

Although ranked three spots lower than their rivals, the Skippers will have ample momentum going to their 4 p.m. showdown after winning their last six matches, including a thrilling 74-72 decision last Thursday that neutralized the third-seeded Rhum Masters’ twice-to-beat advantage.

And a fair share of the credit should be given to the 6-foot-3 Herndon, the former gunner of ousted Wang’s Basketball who readily made his presence felt for Marinerong Pilipino underscored by his impressive double-double performance of 16 points and 10 rebounds, giving Tanduay another big problem to deal with.

“At practice, that’s what my main focus – just to find my way in the system and help the team,” said Herndon, who was recruited by the Skippers in time for the playoff round alongside defensive big man Jun Gabriel.

“Everybody’s unselfish in the team, and sometimes it’s hard to find a team that’s so unselfish. This is really a team. There’s a team-first mentality on this team, and I think I fit right in.”

While the entry of Herndon and Gabriel gave him another pair of strong tools, Marinerong Pilipino coach Koy Banal is not one to treat Tanduay lightly, clearly aware his Rhum Masters counterpart Lawrence Chongson is plotting a strong counterattack.

“We are in a momentum but Tanduay is a different kind of animal, they are very strong,” he stressed.

Even Herndon knows it won’t get any easier since the right to face Aspirants Cup champion Cignal HD in the semifinals is on the line.

“We got to even bring it even more, because now Tanduay is (also in a) do-or-die (situation). We both have that mindset. So it’s gonna be just the same game, it’s gonna be tough,” he said.