Elite, Rising Suns go for 2nd outright berth
MANILA, Philippines - Blackwater Sports and Cagayan Valley dispute the second outright semifinal berth today in what promises to be a slam-bang encounter between two title contenders in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup at the Trinity University of Asia gym in QC.
While the Elite will be coming into the 4 p.m. match fresh from a nine-day rest, the Rising Suns primed up for the all-important match with a 107-75 romp over the Fruitas Shakers last Tuesday.
Blackwater totes a 6-2 card to stay behind outright semifinalist and defending champion NLEX, which closed its elims campaign with a 9-1 slate.
But Cagayan is just behind Blackwater at 6-3 and another victory will give the Rising Suns the other coveted semis slot even if the Elite hurdle their last assignment.
"All our efforts will be put to waste if we couldn't get the job done," said Cagayan Valley coach Alvin Pua after his wards routed the Shakers.
Eliud Poligrates unloaded 27 points and fellow guard Christopher Eximiniano had 23 markers against the Shakers with the duo expected to carry the scoring load for the Rising Suns.
Blackwater coach Leo Isaac, however, remains confident of his wards' chances but stressed the need to seize control early.
"We have to play controlled basketball and not let their two guards dictate the tempo of the game," said Isaac, referring to Poligrates and Eximiniano.
Meanwhile, Cebuana Lhuillier (3-5) also goes for a crucial win against ousted Informatics in the 2 p.m. opener. The Gems need to sweep their last two games to stay in the quarterfinal race.
But the Icons are out to close out their campaign on a winning note after snapping an eight-game skid with a morale-boosting 94-87 victory over the Big Chill side last week.
The loss knocked the Superchargers out of contention for the outright semis seat.