(Ynares Sports Arena, Pasig City)
3 p.m. – Racal vs CaféFrance
5 p.m. – Cignal vs Tanduay
4 teams battle for 2 finals berths.
The intensity is expected to pick up today as the finalists will be known in the deciding game of the two best-of-three semifinal series in the PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
CaféFrance looks to make it two in a row against Racal in the first game set at 3 p.m. while top seed Cignal-San Beda hopes to avoid the upset scare of Tanduay in the 5 p.m. nightcap. The winners of both games face in a best-of-three title series which begins on Thursday.
Leaning on the timely efforts of Aaron Jeruta, Rod Ebondo and Paul Desiderio, CaféFrance came back from a double-digit deficit to turn back Racal, 86-75, while Jason Perkins hit two key triples that allowed Cignal to see off Tanduay, 88-85.
CaféFrance coach Egay Macaraya is hoping his boys would step up in their biggest test of the tournament.
“I need everybody. I’m wielding the veterans hoping na mag-step up sila. But as a young team, all we could do is motivate the boys,” he said. “We want them to have these life-changing moments, for them to realize that our destiny is to make it back to the finals.”
Macaraya would like see another solid performance from Jeruta, who scored 10 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter that enabled CaféFrance to complete its comeback over Racal.
Meanwhile, Perkins’ back-to-back triples put Cignal ahead for good and deny Tanduay’s first crack at clinching a second straight finals appearance.
Cignal coach Boyet Fernandez is banking on Perkins, Robert Bolick, Davon Potts and Javee Mocon to deliver against the Tanduay side powered by former Star Hotshots players Mark Cruz, Jerwin Gaco and Lester Alvarez.
“It’s going to be a matter of who wants it more. We challenged them to step up their game and I think they already realized that Tanduay is indeed no pushovers. We just have to be consistent and focused on the game,” said Fernandez.