Scorpions, Tanduay eye semis slots

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Centro Escolar University (CEU) and Tanduay Rhum try to take the easy route to the semis as they battle separate foes in the quarterfinals of the 2017 Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) D-League Foundation Cup today at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.

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Armed with a twice-to-beat advantage, the Scorpions and the Rhum Masters are keen to finish off their respective rivals to join Flying V and Cignal HD in the next phase of the tournament.

CEU battles the dangerous Batangas at 3 p.m. while Tanduay squares off with the streaking Marinerong Pilipino at 5 p.m.

Scorpions head coach Yong Garcia is treating the game a do-or-die affair as they brace for a tough encounter against Batangueño.

“As of now, we are focused on how we will play against them. We must keep an eye to them,” said Garcia, who will rely on Congolese big man Rod Ebondo.

Ebondo had a solid game in their 88-77 win over Racal, finishing with 22 points and 19 rebounds resulting in his team securing the last quarterfinals seat.

Garcia will also bank on JK Casiño, Art Aquino and Orlan Wamar Jr.

Batangas coach Eric Gonzales, meanwhile, remains optimistic of their chances and will be bolstered by new recruits Robby Celiz and Leo Avenido.

“We know that this isn’t an easy road going to the next round. But we will do our best and fight for it,” said Gonzales, who will also have the service of Cedric de Joya.

Meanwhile, Tanduay coach Lawrence Chongson is downplaying their twice-to-beat advantage and wants his players to go all out in the match.

“I have been here for a long time and seen many things happen. With what my players are showing, I think we are on a crucial situation,” said Chongon, who will rely on Lester Alvares and Paul Varilla.

Marinerong Pilipino coach Koy Banal said the momentum the team generated during their five-game winning streak will give them confidence in facing the veteran Tanduay squad.

“What we have done in the eliminations is the same thing that we will apply in the quarterfinals. We will keep this one game at a time,” said Banal, who will bank on Mark Isip and Robbie Herndon.

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