FEU-NRMF and former two-time champion Hobe Bihon-Cars Unlimited fight for glory as the clash in the winner-take-all Game Two of the 2015 Marikina DeLeague on Tuesday night at the Marikina Sports Park Gym.
FEU-NRMF swept the elimination and the single-round semifinals of the tournament, but blew a chance to put a perfect ending to its campaign when it lost Game One of the finals to Hobe, 57-72, last Saturday.
The twice-to-beat ballclub, though, is set to get a boost with the return of Willie Miller, who missed Game One after taking part in Pilipinas MX3 Kings' game in Thailand, and Bright Akhuetie, who played for the Philippines in the Fiba All Stars in Doha Qatar last week.
FEU-NRMF coach Cris Bautista vowed to make the necessary adjustments as they prepare for the do-or-die game.
“We will bounce back. I will tell you this, promise, two hundred percent, we will bounce back,” said Bautista, who is also an assistant coach at La Salle Greenhills.
“There were a lot of mismatches, yung dalawang bigs nila, hindi namin ma-contain. We will practice for two days,” he added while revealing that center Prince Eze is still hampered by a back injury.
Hobe team co-owner Mark Young expects the FEU-NRMF side to come back stronger, especially with their rival team anchored by PBA veterans Miller, Leo Avenido, Leo Najorda, Egay Billones and Hans Thiele.
“It’s not going to be a blow-out like last time. Pero I am hoping my boys will man up to the challenge. We’ve lost to FEU-NRMF twice, we only beat them once, so far. Hope we can sustain the momentum,” said Young, a popular car retail businessman in Manila.
But for his FEU-NRMF counterpart, it’s about pride and proving to fans that their eight-game win run was no fluke.
“I hope my boys regain the confidence. It was a brutal loss in Game One, so I expect them to bounce back and show their full force,” said owner Nino Reyes, owner of the famed FEU-NRMF hospital in Fairview, Quezon City.
“We’re the only team that did not rebuild before the playoffs, because I am confident of my coaches' competence. I stand by their promise of bouncing back,” he added.
Sudden-death Game Two set Tuesday evening will be covered live on Sports Radio 918.
Watch video highlights of Game One: