Cignal-San Beda and Racal Ceramica start their best-of-three championship series in the Philippine Basketball Association D-League Aspirants’ Cup on Thursday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
The Tile Masters and Hawkeyes clash in Game 1 at 4 p.m. with both teams eager to pocket the important 1-0 series lead.
Six-time D-League champion coach Boyet Fernandez knows the importance of winning the series opener but he admitted that the wards of coach Jerry Codinera are also ready to meet them head on.
“We had a hard time playing Racal. We just have to make the necessary adjustments because what they have very good players, All-Star players at least. So if you’re going to beat an All-Star team, you really have to play defense and be disciplined,” Fernandez said.
Cignal survived Tanduay Rhum Masters, 88-65, in their Game 3 of their semifinals series to book the finals slot.
Red Lions Robert Bolick, Javee Mocon and Davon Potts will banner the Hawkeyes along with MVP candidate Jason Perkins and veteran playmaker Pamboy Raymundo.
Meanwhile, Codinera is banking on his Chiefs mainstays led by Kent Salado and other NCAA stars like Emilio Aguinaldo College’s Sidney Onwubere and Letran’s Rey Nambatac. veteran campaigners Jackson Corpuz and Allan Mangahas will also beef up the Racal roster.
Corpuz and Mangahas played big in their 78-74 win over Café France in Game 3 of their own semifinal showdown to book their first finals slot since entering the league in 2014.
“I will just continue to trust my players and we’ll try to keep it close and we’ll try to motivate the players coming to the Finals,” said Codinera.