THE battle for playoff positioning in the 2018 PBA D-League Foundation Cup heats up as middle-of-the-pack teams Marinerong Pilipino-TIP and Centro Escolar University face off on Monday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
At the halfway point of the tournament, the Engineers and the Scorpions, sporting identical 2-2 records, look to join league leaders Go for Gold and Che’Lu Bar and Grill in the upper half of the standings.
Gametime is at 3 p.m.
CEU acting coach Derrick Pumaren knows that getting there won’t be easy, especially with the size advantage of Marinerong Pilipino-TIP.
“They’re a bigger team, so hopefully, we could offset yung height nila and experience,” said Pumaren. “Hopefully, our small men could beat them off the floor and stop giving them easy baskets.”
Orlan Wamar starred in the Scorpions’ big win over AMA Online Education last week, but his production needs to be matched by the team’s frontcourt, putting the pressure on Cameroonian center Gilles Oloume.
Coach Koy Banal, meanwhile, challenges Abu Tratter and Jorey Napoles to perform better following the Engineers’ tough defeat to Go for Gold last Thursday.
As always, Trevis Jackson came out to play in that game, pouring a conference-high 34 points in the losing cause for Marinerong Pilipino-TIP.
In the first game, bottom-feeding teams AMA Online Education and Batangas-EAC cancel each other out at 1 p.m.
Andre Paras vowed to play better along with Fil-Canadian forward Owen Graham for the winless Titans (0-4).
“I’ll be more active,” he said. “In our next game, I’ll try being more aggressive in rebounds. If some players are off, I will try my best to contribute.”
Generals coach Oliver Bunyi, on the other hand, is expecting his wards to learn from their past two defeats and keep themselves in the running for those elusive top four spots.
“I'm sure they already know what to do in the next games after our string of losses,” he said.