CAGAYAN Valley tries to take advantage of an Ola Adeogun-less Fruitas squad when they square off on Tuesday at the Jose Rizal University gym as the battle for playoff positions continues in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup.
The Rising Suns, still with a shot at an outright semifinal berth, battle the quarterfinal-seeking Shakers at 2 p.m.
In the second game, JRU plays in front of its home fans against Erase XFoliant at 4 p.m.
Cagayan Valley is in third place with a 5-3 win-loss card, a game behind second-running Blackwater Sports at 6-2.
If they fail to secure the outright semifinal spot, the Rising Suns can still gain a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals if they finish the eliminations in either third or fourth place.
“May pag-asa pa kami sa semifinals kaya susubukan naming kunin,” said Cagayan Valley coach Alvin Pua.
Fruitas will play minus Adeogun, the team’s Nigerian center from San Beda who is still out with a right ankle injury.
Without Adeogun, the Shakers were clobbered by JRU, 64-100, on Tuesday. The loss snapped Fruitas’ three-game win streak, dropping the Shakers to joint fifth place with JRU. They are only half-a-game ahead of Café France and Boracay Rum.
“He (Ola) was advised to rest,” said Fruitas coach Nash Racela. “We will try to win without him. Other guys will have to step forward and plug the holes. We’re hopeful that our desire to win will outweigh our disadvantage.”
Meanwhile, the Heavy Bombers go for their fourth consecutive victory and bolster their quarterfinal hopes.
JRU’s big win was highlighted by Byron Villarias all-time league record 36 points, and all eyes will be on him anew as the Bombers try to move closer to a twice-to-beat incentive in the quarterfinals.
Erase XFoliant, meanwhile, tries to finish strong with new coach Letran mentor Caloy Garcia, who was hired to replace Aric Del Rosario.