PHOENIX Petroleum-Far Eastern University and CafeFrance-Centro Escolar University vie for a 2-1 series lead in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup finals in Game Three on Thursday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
The Accelerators and the Bakers square off once again at 3 p.m., hoping to move one victory away from the Aspirants Cup crown.
The CafeFrance Bakers leaned on former FEU standout Carl Bryan Cruz’s late baskets to escape with an 86-77 victory over the Phoenix Accelerators in Game Two and leveled the series at one game apiece.
CafeFrance coach Egay Macaraya hopes that his wards will be able to maintain their intensity for the entire game, expecting that Phoenix-FEU will be out to bounce back from the Game Two defeat.
“Hopefully sa third game, pareho na kami ng intensity,” said Macaraya. “Kami ang may energy and effort nung first three quarters at sila naman (Phoenix-FEU) ang nag-relax.”
Paul Zamar, Aaron Jeruta and Rodrigue Ebondo are also expected to go all out for CafeFrance on Thursday following their key performance in Game Two. The three combined for 36 points to complement Cruz, who topscored for the Bakers with 18 points.
Meanwhile, Phoenix-FEU coach Eric Gonzales pointed to only one aspect of their game as the reason for their defeat in Game Two.
“Kulang kami sa execution,” said Gonzales.
The Accelerators hope to execute their strategy better this time around, especially with the championship experience of Mac Belo, Mike Tolomia, and RR Pogoy who are eyeing their second title in months after the three were the pivotal players in FEU’s run at the UAAP Season 78 crown.