JUMBO Plastic Linoleum battles Hapee on Thursday in a crucial match-up in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup at the JCSGO gym in Quezon City.
The Giants battle the Fresh Fighters at 2 p.m.
Entering the match with a 6-3 win-loss slate, the fourth-place Giants need a victory to clinch a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinal round. They hold only a one-game lead over idle Cebuana Lhuillier (5-4) in the fight for that incentive.
Jumbo Plastic coach Steve Tiu knows the importance of the game against powerhouse Hapee, which is coming off a 10-day break.
“This is a very crucial game for us. It will be tough to win against Hapee because of their deep lineup. Hopefully, we could compete and see what happens,” said Tiu.
Even though it is already assured of an outright semifinal berth, Hapee, unbeaten in nine matches, is also gunning for a win, needing momentum before facing Cagayan Valley on January 22. The Rising Suns will go against Hapee undefeated with a 9-0 mark.
“We always find ways to get better. Sayang kasi ‘yung napuhunan namin. Humihirap pa lang ang laban. We always want them to feel the pressure as the tournament goes deep,” Hapee coach Ronnie Magsanoc said.
Racal Motors (2-7) battles MJM M-Builders (3-6) at 12 p.m. and Breadstory takes on MP Hotel at 4 p.m.
Breadstory and MJM M-Builders still have an outside shot of breaking into the quarterfinals, with Tanduay Light occupying sixth place at 4-6.
Team standings: Hapee 9-0, Cagayan Valley 9-0, Café France 8-2, Jumbo Plastic 6-3, Cebuana Lhuillier 5-4, Tanduay Light 4-6, Breadstory 3-5, MJM M-Builders 3-6, AMA 3-7, Wangs 2-7, Racal Motors 2-7, MP Hotel 1-8.