Centro Escolar University (CEU) continues its quest for an outright semifinals spot in the Philippine Basketball Association Developmental League (PBA D-League) Aspirants’ Cup 2018 as it clashes with the dangerous Gamboa Coffee Mix-St. Clare College today at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
The pace-setting Scorpions take on the Coffee Lovers in the curtain raiser at 12 noon.
CEU clinched the first playoff berth after escaping University of Perpetual Help System DALTA, 90-85, just two days back.
The Mendiola-based cagers now gun for a top two finish that will push them straight to the semifinals but head coach Yong Garcia wants his wards to stay focused on their remaining games in the elimination round.
“We are still not thinking of the playoffs. Our focus is one game at a time,” said Garcia, whose squad tops the 12-team standings with a 7-1 win-loss record and rides on four-game winning streak.
Gamboa-St. Clare, on the other hand, is fresh off a confidence-boosting 107-106 overtime stunner over Zark’s Burger-Lyceum of the Philippines University also last Tuesday.
Trevis Jackson sank the game-winning technical free throw that was awarded following an excessive timeout called by Zark’s-Lyceum’s guard Jaycee Marcelino with nine-tenths of a second left in the extension period.
“Our win (against Zark’s) was great. I am optimistic that we are already prepared facing CEU,” said Gamboa mentor Jinino Manansala.
The Coffee Lovers stand at No. 6 with a 4-3 slate.
Meanwhile, Akari-Adamson University tries to book a playoff ticket when it battles the formidable Wangs Basketball-Colegio de San Juan de Letran at 2 p.m.
Holding a 6-2 card for a share of No. 2 with idle Marinerong Pilipino, the Falcons are just a win away from sealing a seat to the next round.
“All the teams in this conference are competitive. We cannot be deceived by the standings because any team can compete in any given day,” said Akari-Adamson coach Franz Pumaren, whose team repulsed the hard-fighting Batangas-Emilio Aguinaldo College, 89-79, last week.
Standing in Akari’s way is the Wangs-Letran squad that is determined to hike its 5-2 sheet and closer to the playoffs.
“We’ll take care of business. We’re always prepared whoever the opposition is. Our mindset is always to win,” said Wangs coach Jeff Napa.
The No. 4 Couriers also eye to extend their three-game winning streak highlighted by a 91-88 win against Go For Gold-College of St. Benilde last Monday.