• Marinerong Pilipino, Batangas eye quarters

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    Marinerong Pilipino and Batangas take on separate foes as they chase the quarterfinals seat in the 2017 Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) D-League Foundation Cup on Thursday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.

    Coming off four consecutive wins, the Koy Banal-mentored Skippers face the eliminated AMA Online Education in the curtain raiser at 1 p.m. to usher the rare triple-header.

    Holding a 5-4 slate, the Skippers try to take advantage of the momentum they generated as they gun for their fifth straight win.

    “We are taking our campaign one game at a time. And it works for us. We believe in miracles and we hope to pull off another one,” said Banal, who will bank on veteran forward Mark Isip, Pao Javelona and former La Salle standout Julian Sargent.

    The team is coming off a 69-point drubbing of Gamboa Coffee Mix last Monday.

    Batangas (5-3), on the other hand, is the favorite against the Coffee Lovers in their 5 p.m. encounter.

    Coach Eric Gonzales is wary of the Leo Avenido-mentored Gamboa Coffee, which is also out of contention with a 1-8 slate.

    “At anytime, they can beat us. We are the ones seeking for a playoff chance. We need to step up. So, I hope our game plan will work against them,” said Gonzales.

    Cedrick Ablaza, Jessie Saitanan, and Jhaps Bautista will lead Batangas’ quest for a quarterfinals seat.

    Tanduay Rhum, already assured of the quarterfinals slot with 7-2 card, battles Racal Motors in the second game at 3 p.m.

    Rhum Masters head coach Lawrence Chongson said his team would still go all out in the no-bearing contest.

    “This is more off a tune-up for us going to the playoffs. I don’t want my players to be complacent,” said Chongson, who will bank on James Martinez, Jaymo Eguilos and Lester Alvarez.

    At 3-5, the Alibaba are also out of the playoff race.

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