THE playoff picture will finally be set in stone on Thursday as the four semifinal-bound teams jostle for position in the last elimination day of the 2018 PBA D-League Foundation Cup Thursday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
Marinerong Pilipino-TIP and Centro Escolar University fight for the number three spot at 1 p.m., followed by the race to the top spot between Che’Lu Bar and Grill and Go for Gold at 3 p.m.
Uncharacteristic as it may seem, the league leaders are having a bit of a trouble entering the playoffs.
Coach Stevenson Tiu expressed dismay on his never-ending quest to snap the Revellers out of their funk as they continue to fall into the trap of complacency.
“Siguro ang tingin ng mga players namin, kaya naman i-walkthrough lang yung kalaban,” he said after Che’Lu dispatched Batangas-EAC, 100-93. “We have to prepare every game. Lagi ko ine-emphasize na we have to get ready, we have to practice hard para ma-translate natin every game.”
On the other hand, coach Charles Tiu is just praying to the heavens that he gets a full-strength roster in time for the best-of-three semis series, regardless of which team the Scratchers face.
“We’re still missing key players. Hopefully our guys get healthy kasi ang dami pa ring nawawala,” he said.
Jeff Viernes, Chris Bitoon, and Jessie Collado will try to replicate Che’Lu Bar and Grill’s tight 97-95 victory in the first round, just as Gab Banal, Jai Reyes, and Matt Salem are plotting to help Go for Gold bounce back from that shortcoming.
Meanwhile, both the Engineers and the Scorpions are just motivated to close out their elimination-round assignments on a good note.
“Of course we want to win. Iba pa rin yung papasok ka sa semifinals na galing ka sa panalo,” said Marinerong Pilipino-TIP coach Koy Banal as he will rely on his leaders Abu Tratter, Trevis Jackson, and Robbie Manalang to atone for his side’s 97-79 humiliation to CEU in the first round.
Coach Derrick Pumaren, on the other hand, will rely on guys like Orlan Wamar, Pierce Chan, and Gilles Oloume to get the job done for his side.
“We can’t let the other teams do the dirty work for us. We gotta take care of things for us,” he said.