(Bataan People’s Center)
7 p.m. – Manila vs Bulacan
9 p.m. – Bataan vs Caloocan
The MPBL Datu Cup begins its playoffs on Tuesday at the Bataan People’s Center as the host team and top seeded squad Bataan Risers take the floor against the Caloocan Supremos while Manila and Bulacan start their own best-of-three series.
Bataan will face Caloocan in the main game at 9 p.m. right after the match between Manila and the Mighty Sports-backed Bulacan at 7 p.m.
The Risers are the owners of the tournament’s best record in the elimination round, winning 23 out of the 25 games. It was a complete turnaround from last season’s campaign where the team ended up eighth place and barely made it to the playoffs.
Jojo Lastimosa’s first stint as head coach is turning out to be a big hit and he was the one responsible in retooling the line up previously anchored on Gary David and now has become a team that has become more unpredictable.
From Bataan’s depth chart, Lastimosa can rely on old reliables Pamboy Raymundo, Byron Villarias and Ryan Batino, ex-pro Rob Celiz, prized acquisition guard Yvan Ludovice, Richard Escoto and the vastly-improving Gab Dagangon among others.
The Risers will be facing a team that has also gone a long way – the Supremos, last season’s league doormat.
This season, the Supremos will be appearing as the eighth seeded squad and face the Herculean task of pulling off an upset against the best team in the tournament put up by Senator Manny Pacquiao with former MVP Kenneth Duremdes serving as commissioner.