THE playoff race heats up as four teams jostle for position on Monday in the 2018 PBA D-League Foundation Cup at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
Joint leader Go for Gold (5-2) faces Centro Escolar University (4-3) at 1 p.m., followed by the duel between Marinerong Pilipino-TIP (4-3) and Batangas-EAC (3-4) at 3 p.m.
Coach Charles Tiu wants to see the Scratchers get on a win streak again after halting their two-game slide with a rout of AMA last week.
“I think that was a wake-up call, that we have to shape up kasi if we lose the next three games, baka ma-out pa tayo,” said Tiu. “Sabi ko sa players, nakakahiya sa inyo kasi we’re a strong team and it’s your names which are on the line.
Go for Gold welcomes Rey Publico to its big man rotation as he joins ex-pro Jerwin Gaco up front.
The backcourt tandem of Jai Reyes and James Martinez are also tasked to lead the Scratchers as they eye a repeat of their 92-83 win over the Scorpions.
Coach Derrick Pumaren is hoping the Scorpions would work harder to avoid falling to the Scratchers again.
“We got blown out by Go for Gold sa first game namin and we didn’t really come out and competed with them. So we just have to come out and be able to defend them and frustrate them this time kasi parang lahat ng gawin nila kaya eh.”
Meanwhile, coach Koy Banal doesn’t want his side to be too cocky as the Skippers led by Trevis Jackson, Robbie Manalang and Jorey Napoles go on playoff mode for their last three outings.
“Our mindset coming to the games is kahit na sino ang kalaban namin, we’ll respect them. We talked about being prepared every day, day-in and day-out in the coming games. And that’s what we want to see from our players,” the soft-spoken mentor said.
Marinerong Pilipino-TIP scored a 42-point win in the first match with Batangas-EAC.
Generals coach Oliver Bunyi hopes to see a better fight from his side as he shored up his frontline with the acquisition of Jebb Bulawan to partner with Michael Mabulac.