Momentum on side of Gems, Bombers
MANILA, Philippines - Cagayan Valley and Big Chill try to recover lost grounds while Cebuana Lhuillier and Jose Rizal University seek to complete a pair reversals in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup quarterfinal round at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig today.
The fifth-seeded Heavy Bombers nipped the No. 4 Superchargers, 63-61, while the sixth-seeded Gems edged No. 3 Rising Suns, 84-83, last Tuesday to force a pair of sudden deaths for last two semifinal berths.
But while JRU and Cebuana have gained the so-called momentum with their thrilling wins the other day, the Superchargers and the Rising Suns are expected to bounce back strong and join defending champion NLEX and No. 2 Blackwater Sports in the Final Four.
Big Chill and JRU dispute the third semis berth at 2 p.m. while Cagayan and Cebuana clash for the last semis seat at 4 p.m.
"The guys are determined to win. What we achieved (Tuesday) will motivate them even more," said JRU coach Vergel Meneses after the Heavy Bombers bucked the odds and humbled the Superchargers.
"We struggled with our offense and we didn't execute our plays smoothly. I think we have to make few adjustments. But the bottom line really is defense. The team which wants it more will win," he added.
The Heavy Bombers hope to draw the best from John Villarias, Jeckster Apinan and Philip Paniamogan this time after the troika struggled for a combined 10-point output last Tuesday.
The Superchargers, meanwhile, hope to check their skid after losing four of their last six games in the elims and to the Bombers in the quarters.
For the third straight game, Big Chill will be without the injured Terrence Romeo, out for three weeks due to a hairline fracture in his right hands he sustained in their 87-94 loss to Informatics last Jan. 17.
"I think it will be a game of character. The team that is willing to go the extra mile will go to the semis. I thought we showed some character," said Cebuana Lhuillier coach Beaujing Acot following their come-from-behind win last Tuesday.
The Rising Suns actually dominated the Gems in the first half but struggled at resumption, enabling their rivals to mount a rally and steal the game.
But Christopher Eximiniano, Raymund Almazan and Mark Bringas vow to atone for their poor finish the last time out and help carry the Rising Suns to the semis.