Another chapter is bound to be written in the storied rivalry of Cafe France and Phoenix when the two teams collide today in the 2016 PBA D-League Foundation Cup.
Accelerators coach Eric Gonzales treats the duel as a must win, knowing that at 8-3, a loss effectively ends their team’s hopes of snagging one of the elusive twice-to-beat incentives in the semifinals.
“We’re facing a championship team on Thursday,” he said after dominating Blustar Detergent on Tuesday, 108-83. “We have to play it like a championship game.”
Bakers coach Egay Macaraya feels the same way. “We have to win versus Phoenix before anything else,” he said after the Bakers’ 86-70 win over AMA last Thursday.
The Aspirants’ Cup finalists meet for the second time this conference at JCSGO Gym in Cubao with a top two-spot hanging in the balance in their 4 p.m. clash.
Cafe France bested Phoenix by a hair in their first meeting, escaping with a 96-93 overtime win on July 21 thanks to the leadership of Carl Bryan Cruz.
Mac Belo sat out that game, but is expected to figure heavily for the Accelerators in this matchup.
Racal is also intently watching this affair. A win for Phoenix assures the Tile Masters of finishing at the top spot, while a Cafe France victory secures them a twice-to-beat incentive, eliminating any chances for a triple-tie for the number one-seed.
In the curtain raiser, Tanduay is hoping to at least improve its positioning in the Final Four picture as it wraps up its schedule against also-ran AMA Online Education when the game tips off at 2 p.m.
JCSGO Gym, Cubao
2 p.m. Tanduay vs AMA Online Education
4 p.m. Cafe France vs Phoenix