CAFÉ France and Jumbo Plastic Linoleum eye to book berths in the semifinals of the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup as they tackle separate opponents at the start of the quarterfinals Thursday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
The Bakers face Breadstory-Lyceum at 2 p.m., while the Giants go up against Cebuana Lhuillier at 4 p.m.
As the third and fourth seeded teams respectively going to the playoffs, both the Bakers and the Giants carry twice-to-beat advantage against their opponents.
The winner of the series will join top teams Cagayan Valley and Hapee in the Final Four.
Café France gained a twice-to-beat edge advantage in the quarterfinals for the first time in franchise history, an opportunity which the Bakers are bent not to waste..
“It feels good to have an advantage in the quarters. This is a first for us and it really adds up to the confidence of the players. Right now I would say they’re focused and motivated to make the next round,” said Café France head coach Egay Macaraya.
The Jumbo Plastic-Cebuana Lhuillier series meanwhile, could be a toss-up. The Giants won their lone elimination round encounter with the Gems by a close margin, 63-61.
The win actually clinched for the Giants the twice-to-beat advantage despite ending their elimination round campaign with a similar 7-4 (win-loss) slate as the Gems.
“It doesn’t count anymore,” said Jumbo Plastic coach Steve Tiu, referring to the two-point victory. “This is an entirely new ball game so hopefully we can match up well with them in the quarters.”
The Gems’ three-game winning streak at the end of the eliminations should bode well in their aim of overcoming the Giants’ twice-to-beat edge.
“It’s a good sign. If we could keep it up we might have a chance,” said Cebuana Lhuillier coach Boycie Zamar.
The matches will be aired on a delayed basis over IBC-13 through the Asian Television Content starting at 6 p.m.