COACH Egay Macaraya demands Café France players to keep the intensity high for 40 minutes as they try to turn back powerhouse Hapee in the opener of the PBA D-League best-of-three semifinals on Thursday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
Café France lost to Hapee, 70-55, last year in their lone elimination-round match. In that game, the Bakers were only in contention first half before the Fresh Fighters pulled away.
“Kapag kalaban mo ang Hapee, dapat four quarters ka maglaro dahil ganun sila kalakas,” said Macaraya. “Hopefully, lahat mag-step-up. As I’ve said, lahat ng players ng Hapee puro scorer. Tignan namin kung either maka-match-up kami or hindi mababaw ’yung maging rotation namin.”
For good measure, Macaraya has also asked his players to show up for 40 minutes ahead of the 2 p.m. tipoff.
Macaraya acknowledges that reaching the finals will be very tough as they face off with a talent-loaded squad that won all but one game in the elimination round and advanced outright to the semifinals. But he added they won’t simply back down.
Café France needed two games to dispose of Breadstory in the quarterfinals.
[See Aaron Jeruta shows way as Café France turns back upset-conscious Breadstory to gain semis]
“Grabe ang suporta ng management ngayon at ang goal namin is ang semifinals. Andito na rin kami, why not go for the gold. The players have to prove themselves. Sila ang makakalaban nila kung makarating sila sa PBA,” said Macaraya.
Hapee is looking to bounce back from its only loss of the conference, 80-77, to unbeaten Cagayan Valley that sent them to No. 2 in the standings.