BLACKWATER Sports tries to make headway in the race for the final outright semifinal berth when it takes on Cebuana Lhuillier on Tuesday in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup at the Trinity University of Asia gym.
The Elite are in solo second place with a 5-2 win-loss slate, while Cagayan Valley and Big Chill are tied for third at 5-3.
Blackwater seeks to solidify their hold of second spot and join three-time defending champion NLEX in the semifinals. The Elite and Gems collide at 4 p.m.
Blackwater Sports coach Leo Isaac expects a physical match with the Gems, who are trying to keep alive their chances of advancing to the quarterfinal round.
“I expect their (Gems) usual physical game and we are prepared for it. I also like our chances of solidifying our hold of second place,” Isaac said.
Blackwater ended last year with an 81-60 victory over Café France, took a break, and resumed training on January 4.
“We had more than enough time to prepare. By game day we will be ready,” Isaac said.
The Gems still have a chance to make it to the quarterfinals, although they are in joint seventh place with Jose Rizal University at 3-4.
The top two teams after the elimination round advance outright to the semifinals, with the third to sixth placers moving to the quarterfinal round.
Cebuana Lhuillier made roster changes as it signed former University of the East cager James Martinez, Jammer Jamito, Rex Leynes, and Jessie Bustos in place of Clark Bautista, Lucas Tagarda, Raymond Aguilar, and Ramon Mabayo.
JRU are also in a crucial match-up on Tuesday as it goes up against Fruitas at 2 p.m.
Fruitas is in fifth spot with a 4-3 slate and aiming for its fourth straight victory. The Shakers could still grab a twice-to-beat incentive in the quarterfinals if they finish in third or fourth place.