Winner-take-all Game 3 in D-League semis

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With both series tied at 1-all, expect the four remaining teams to give everything they’ve got in Game 3 of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) D-League Aspirants’ Cup on Tuesday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.

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Racal Ceramica and Café France clash for the first finals seat at 3 p.m. while Cignal-San Beda and Tanduay Rhum face off in their knockout semifinals match at 5 p.m.

The Bakers forced a rubber match with an 86-75 win in Game 2 while the Hawkeyes stayed alive in the tournament with an 89-86 squeaker over the Rhum Masters in Game 2 of their own best-of-three semifinal series.

Tile Masters head coach Jerry Codiñera lamented the team’s lack of poise in the end game and hopes his wards have learned their lessons and duplicate their 88-86 win in Game 1.

“Again, we know the name of the game is we have to be patient. So, I told my players to keep things simple. Anything can happen so we need to keep our poise,” said Codiñera, who will bank on Sidney Onwubere, Kent Salado, and Jackson Corpuz.

Café France coach Egay Macaraya is pinning his hopes on his veterans and guide his young squad back to the finals.

“I need everybody. I’m wielding the veterans – that they will step up. But as a young team, all we could do is motivate the boys. We want them to have these life-changing moments, for them to realize that our destiny is to make it back to the Finals,” said Macaraya.

Cafe France will bank on the trio of Paul Desiderio, Rod Ebondo, and Joseph Sedurifa in the do-or-die contest.

In the other semifinals match, Cignal mentor Boyet Fernandez challenges his young squad to step up their game in the crucial match as they face a veteran team in Tanduay.

“It’s really the boys who stepped up and they didn’t want to go home. We challenged them to step up their game and I think they already realized that Tanduay is indeed no pushovers. We just have to be consistent and focus on the game,” said Fernandez, who will rely on Jason Perkins, Robert Bolick, and Pamboy Raymundo.

Rhum Masters coach Lawrence Chongson remains confident of their chances despite the Game 2 loss but he knows it won’t be a walk in the park.

“How badly we want to make it back to the finals is an understatement, but we know that it won’t be handed to us in a silver platter. We have to dig deep, bite and claw to be able to survive. Still, I’m very confident of our chances,” Chongson said.

Ex-pros Mark Cruz, Jerwin Gaco, and Lester Alvarez will banner Tanduay in the pivotal affair as it tries to repeat its 66-55 win in Game 1.

Games today
3 p.m. Cafe France vs Racal
5 p.m. Cignal vs Tanduay

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