Aspirant’s Cup champion Cignal HD battles the dangerous Centro Escolar University (CEU) at the start of the best-of-three finals of the 2017 Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) D-League Foundation Cup on Tuesday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
Sans Raymar Jose and with the Scorpions playing confident basketball after shocking top seed Flying V in their semifinal series, coach Boyet Fernandez hopes his wards will be ready in their 5 p.m. Game 1 encounter.
“SEA (Southeast Asian) Games is very important to us. That’s why we’re trying to cope up. Hopefully, everybody will step up,” said Fernandez as Jose is lending his services to the Gilas Pilipinas squad in the ongoing 29th SEA Games in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Without a reliable big man in Jose, Fernandez’s main concern is how to slow down Scorpions’ center Rod Ebondo as well as guards Aaron Jeruta, Orlan Wamar and JK Casino.
The seven-time D-League champion will bank on Pamboy Raymundo, Jason Perkins and Byron Villarias in the series.
CEU remains the underdog in the series but its huge upset win over the Thunder makes it a dangerous opponent.
“We take it one game at a time. No one knew that we’re able to get here in this position. But since we are here already, we will continue all the good things we’ve done,” said Scorpions coach Yong Garcia.
Garcia will also be leaning on sharp shooting Art Aquino, who had 13 points and 10 rebounds in their semis-clinching win over Flying V.