CAGAYAN VALLEY and Big Chill try to clinch a semifinal spot on Tuesday as they battle separate foes at the start of the quarterfinals of the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup at The Arena in San Juan.
The third-seeded Rising Suns face sixth-ranked Cebuana Lhuillier in the curtain-raiser at 2 p.m. while the fourth-placed Superchargers battle fifth-seed Jose Rizal University at 4 o’clock.
As the higher-ranked teams, Cagayan Valley and Big Chill own twice-to-beat advantages against their opponents but cannot afford to be complacent as the Gems and Bombers have proven themselves tough and determined squads in the elimination round.
Cebuana Lhuillier beat Cagayan Valley, 86-82, during the elimination round while Big Chill only escaped with a 77-76 victory over JRU on a buzzer-beater by Mark Canlas.
“Pagkakataon na namin para makabawi,” said Cagayan Valley head coach Alvin Pua. “Kailangan namin maging consistent sa depensa para manalo kami.”
“We have to take out of our minds that we have a twice-to-beat advantage because JRU is a tough team,” said Big Chill mentor Robert Sison.
Cagayan Valley made changes to its roster in time for the January 31 deadline, acquiring Julius Pasculado and John Montemayor.
The Gems hope to carry the momentum of winning two straight games to clinch a quarterfinal spot against the Rising Suns.
“We’re just happy to make the quarters despite all the troubles we’ve encountered in the eliminations,” said Cebuana Lhuillier coach Beaujing Acot.
The Heavy Bombers missed out on a twice-to-beat edge in the quarterfinals when they lost to Cebuana Lhuillier, 77-73, on the final day of the eliminations.
JRU head coach Vergel Meneses, however, is confident with his wards going into their quarterfinal match-up against the 2012 Foundation Cup runners-up.
“I have no doubt about their ability,” said Meneses. “I know they can compete against any team in this league. All we need is some consistency in our game.”