Tanduay, CEU hope to avoid extended quarterfinal battles with Marinero, Batangas
Coach Lawrence Chongson's Rhum Masters, with a twice-to-beat advantage, look to stop the streaking Skippers. Jerome Ascano 

TWICE-to-beat Tanduay and Centro Escolar University look to score quick knockouts of their quarterfinal foes on Thursday in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.

Although they finished the elimination round as the third seed, Tanduay coach Lawrence Chongson remains wary of Marinerong Pilipino, which acquired Fil-Am Robbie Herndon from also-ran Wangs Basketball.

The Rhum Masters and Skippers clash at 5 p.m. after the match at 3 o’clock between the Scorpions and Batangas.

“To be honest, I’ve been here a long time and I’ve seen a lot of things happen. Sa pinapakita ng team ko, we might have a hard time contending,” said Chongson, whose team will enjoy a twice-to-beat advantage

“Aasa kami sa swerte at talbog ng bola, but I think we can squeeze it out naman sa quarters.”

Herndon has teamed up with Mark Isip, Achie Inigo and Julian Sargent as the Skippers hope to force a decider against the Rhum Masters.

Marinerong Pilipino is on a five-game winning streak, but coach Koy Banal says it will be tough trying to stretch that run against the Rhum Masters.

“Ibang klase na ang playoffs and it’s not going to be smooth sailing for us. But we’ll bank on our veterans who’ve been there before. We’ll just keep on believing," said Banal.

CEU coach Yong Garcia is also hoping to avoid an extended matchup with Batangas, much improved now from the squad the Scorpions beat by two in the eliminations.

“Sa ngayon, naka-focus kami sa preparations namin. We can’t worry about other things but yung preparation talaga against sa Batangas,” said Garcia.

Batangas got some additonal firepower now with the acquisition of Robby Celiz and Leo Avenido from also-rans Zark's Burger and Gamboa Coffee Mix, respectively, although the two hardly looked a threat in a loss leage-leading Flying V in their final elims game.

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“Mahirap ito para sa amin, pero maganda ang expectations sa amin ng mga bosses at syempre, ilalaban natin yan,” said Batangas coach Eric Gonzales. 

Follow the writer on Twitter: @janbballesteros