Akari-Adamson University aims to continue what has been an overachieving campaign in the Philippine Basketball Association Developmental League (PBA D-League) Aspirants’ Cup 2018 when it faces Che’Lu Bar and Grill-San Sebastian College in Game 1 of their best-of-three semifinals Tuesday at the Pasig Sports Center.
For head coach Franz Pumaren, finishing at the top of the standings after the eliminations was quite a surprise for him given how he perceives the Falcons as a team, which is still a work-in-progress.
“At the start of the season, if you told me that we’ll be up as the number one team, I’ll be thinking you’re just pulling my leg,” he admitted.
But the stellar play of Jerrick Ahanmisi, Sean Manganti and Jonathan Espeleta have allowed Akari-Adamson to rack up a 9-2 card, besting some of the league’s early favorites.
Now that they’re in the Final Four, Pumaren is going for broke as the Falcons go all-in for the championship, starting in this 4 p.m. tussle against the Revellers.
“It was a surprise on our part because we to the league with the sole purpose of gaining experience. But now that we’re here, we’ll still continue what were doing. Right now, it’s more of the little things,” he said.
Akari-Adamson easily dispatched Che’Lu-San Sebastian, 84-75 in their eliminations meeting last February 13, and Pumaren would love to replicate that result twice over and book its ticket to the championship dance.
On the other hand, the Revellers hope that their rejigged lineup will do wonders and pull off the upset against the top-seed Falcons.
Losing main man Michael Calisaan midway through the season, Tiu is banking on his new acquisitions like Jeff Viernes and Jay-R Taganas to pair up with holdovers Samboy de Leon and upstarts Allyn Bulanadi and RK Ilagan to get the job done for Che’Lu-San Sebastian.