Tile Masters, Rhum Masters eye finals

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Racal Ceramica and Tanduay Rhum will try to arrange their championship showdown as they go for the clincher in Game 2 of their respective best-of-three semifinals today at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.

The Rhum Masters take the first crack when they face Cignal-San Beda in the opening game at 3 p.m. while the Tile Masters square off with Café France at 5 p.m.

Racal and Tanduay gained a 1-0 lead in their own series with contrasting wins in Game 1.

The Tile Masters relied on Sidney Onwuebere’s buzzer-beating triple to lift his team to an 88-86 thriller over the Bakers while the Rhum Masters dominated the top seed Hawkeyes, 66-55, to get the series lead.


Gerwin Gaco of Tanduay drives around the defense of Tristan Perez of Blustar Detergent during the 2017 Philippine Basketball Association D-League Aspirants’ Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City. PBA MEDIA BUREAU PHOTO

Racal head coach Jerry Codiñera knows Game 2 will be tougher as he expects Café France to bounce back and tie the series.

“The name of the game is we have to be patient. Anything can happen, anything is possible. We expected a down the wire affair (in Game 1) and that’s what happened. We expect nothing less in Game 2,” Codiñera said.

Codiñera will continue to bank on Onwubere along with Rey Nambatac, Kent Salado and Jackson Corpuz.

For Bakers coach Egay Macaraya, their Game 1 loss will make them a better squad come Game 2.

“I guess this loss will make us a better team. With a young team like this, I know we can develop more and we could improve more knowing all of these circumstances that happened,” said Macaraya.

Cafe France will bank on Congolese import Rod Ebondo, Paul Desiderio and Joseph Sedurifa in its bid to send the series to a winner-take-all Game 3.

Meanwhile, the No. 4 seed Tanduay goes for the finals berth against Cignal of head coach Boyet Fernandez.

Rhum Masters coach Lawrence Chongson warns his players not be complacent against the Hawkeyes.

“We know Cignal will come out with adjustments. At this stage, it will be a bar room brawl,” said Chongson, who drew solid games from ex-pros Jerwin Gaco and Mark Cruz.

Fernandez hopes his team has learned its lessons in its painful Game 1 loss.

“I just told them that it’s not yet over. Tanduay has to beat us one more time. So for us, we just have to see what we’ve done wrong and try to adjust. And hopefully we can recover, take good care of Game 2, and look forward to Game 3,” he said.

Cignal will be led by Jason Perkins, Robert Bolick, and Javee Mocon.

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