Having stamped their class throughout the whole conference, the Café France-Centro Escolar University Bakers are now gunning for a sweep against the Tanduay Rhum Masters in their best-of-three semifinals series Tuesday at the 2016 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
Riding high on their huge 65-58 Game One victory, the Bakers want to clamp down on the Rhum Masters and proceed to the championship series, as they eye back-to-back titles in the developmental league. But coach Egay Macaraya doesn’t want Café France to feel overconfident, and instead wrap the series up as fast as possible.
“Walang mangyayari pag di namin nakuha yung second game,” he said, entrusting the game to Rod Ebondo, Carl Bryan Cruz, and Mon Abundo. “We’re now one win away from our first goal which is to make it to the championship and we want to finish it up.”
Tanduay, however, aren’t ready to surrender that easily.
“We need to be more aggressive and more focused,” said coach Lawrence Chongson, as he wants to draw more contributions from main guys Val Acuna, Rudy Lingganay, and JP Belencion. “We started out flat in Game 1 and we paid dearly for it. Overall, I still like our chances, but we just need to settle down and take care of business come Tuesday.”
Game time is at 2:00 PM.
The Phoenix-Far Eastern University Accelerators, meanwhile, want to join the Bakers in the fastlane to the Finals, as they try to put down the Caida Tile Masters at 4:00 PM.
Accelerators coach Eric Gonzales is hoping for a repeat of their 90-83 Game One victory last Tuesday, where he drew huge contributions from the trio of Ed Daquioag, Mac Belo, and Mike Tolomia.
“We reminded the players of the little big things,” he said. “What’s more important when you play against a talented team like this is you got to box out, sprint out, locate, and communicate. If you do that, good things will come.”
The Tile Masters, meanwhile, are expected to bounce back big behind the leadership of Jiovani Jalalon, Jonathan Grey, and Jason Perkins.
Coach Caloy Garcia wants to rectify the miscues Caida Tile committed in the first due, and is forcing his wards to play the disciplined basketball that has made them successful this conference.
“Every time we gambled for a steal, they just keep on hitting their layups,” he said. “In a game like this, it’s ok to gamble in the first quarter because pwede pa kami bumawi, but in the fourth quarter, we just gambled too much, giving easy layups and offensive rebounds.”
“We’re still keeping our heads high because we know we’re a team capable to bounce back. We’ll just fix on our mistakes,” Garcia ended.