In what could be a potential Finals preview, Cignal-San Beda and Racal clash in a titanic battle on Monday at JCSGO Gym in Cubao which will decide who gets the top seed in the 2017 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup playoffs.
With both teams sporting a 7-1 record and already assured of an outright semifinals seed, the Hawkeyes and the Tile Masters are going to the match fighting for pride as they try to one-up each other and gain a psychological edge if they do meet in the championship series.
After dropping its season-opener, Cignal has racked seven straight wins, with its last a dominant 94-50 win over JRU last March 2, and would love to make it eight going to the playoffs.
“We’re not resting one bit because we really have to prepare for this Racal team,” said coach Boyet Fernandez, a six-time D-League champion mentor, as he tries to gauge on how far his squad would fare against some of the league’s powerhouse teams.
But so far, the Hawkeyes have passed with flying colors, with the duo of Jason Perkins and Robert Bolick leading the fight for their side.
Still, there’s no reason to be relaxed for Cignal as Fernandez is keen on sustaining this winning run to the semifinals.
“We really want to carry the streak over to the playoffs,” he said.
Racal, meanwhile, has shook off its shock 77-75 defeat to JRU to escape Victoria Sports-MLQU, 75-70, and edge Cafe France, 82-78, last week.
For coach Jerry Codinera, he’s elated with the poise his Tile Masters have shown in these past two games and is hoping to see the same grit against the Hawkeyes.
“Beating Cignal will give us another boost of confidence going to the playoffs. It’s going to be huge for our chemistry and it’s easier to develop chemistry while winning,” he said.
Codinera will be leaning on his leaders Kent Salado, Sidey Onwubere, and Rey Nambatac for Racal as they try to cancel out the mighty San Beda core of Cignal.
Game time is at 5 p.m., following the tiff between third-seed Cafe France (6-2) and also-ran Batangas (3-5) at 3 p.m.