Adeogun, De la Cruz carry undermanned Hapee past Cebuana and into D-League finals
Hapee's Ola Adeogun played in a championship match in a collegiate preseason tournament the day before but still proves too strong for his Cebuana Lhuillier defenders. Jerome Ascano

AN undermanned and weary Hapee brandished championship poise under pressure to withstand Cebuana Lhuillier, 73-66, on Monday at the Ynares Arena in Pasig and advance to the PBA D-League Foundation Cup Finals opposite Café France.

The Fresh Fighters, missing Gilas cadets Baser Amer, Troy Rosario, and Scottie Thompson, led most of the way, but had to weather a late storm by a Gems side that is also shorthanded but had been fancied to pull off the gutsy win.

Ola Adeogun and Art de la Cruz, just a day after a championship conquest with San Beda in the Filoil Flying V Cup, delivered this time for the Fresh Fighters, who moved to a second straight finals appearance in the developmental league following their Aspirants Cup title run.

“How we were able to get through it is a testament to the audacity of the players,” Fresh Fighters coach Ronnie Magsanoc said. “They were challenged because talagang malakas yung kalaban.”

The Fresh Fighters thus set up a finals meeting against the Bakers, who swept Cagayan Valley in their own Final Four tussle, with the best-of-three series starting on Thursday.

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