Technological Institute of the Philippines (TIP) targets a twice-to-beat advantage while Marinerong Pilipino guns for a quarterfinal spot when they take on separate foes in the 2019 Philippine Basketball Association Developmental League (PBA D-League) Foundation Cup today at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
The playoff-bound Engineers (4-1) face the cellar-dwelling Alberei (0-3) at 1:30 p.m. for one of the top two spots in Group B while the Skippers (3-0) battle Asia’s Lashes (2-1) at 3:30 p.m. in Group A.
TIP clinched the first quarterfinal berth after trouncing Black Mamba, 110-99, last Thursday.
“It’s going to be big for us. We want to have that momentum before going on a break,” said TIP head coach Potit De Vera.
De Vera will be relying largely on spitfire guard Russel Tan who finished with a game-high 25 points in the previous game, as Senegalese center Papa Ndiaye remains doubtful to return from a hamstring injury.
Twin towers Bryan Santos and Ivan Santos as well as playmaker GC Carurucan are expected to join forces with Tan in leading the Engineers’ offense.
Meanwhile, Marinero seeks a fourth straight win that will earn the powerhouse team a playoff seat and the solo group lead.
The Skippers notched a third victory via default after Nailtalk-St. Dominic Savio College withdrew from the league.
But veteran mentor Yong Garcia told his Skippers to be still up on their toes.
“We still need to fix a lot of things for us to develop our chemistry. That’s really the key for us,” said Garcia. The Skippers scored a 91-82 triumph over AMA Online Education last August 8.
Seasoned players Jay-R Alabanza, Mark Yee and Eloy Poligrates will lead Marinero’s assault along with young guns Jhonard Clarito and Dan Sara.
In the closing game at 5:30 p.m., Hyperwash (1-2) hunts for a second consecutive win against the winless McDavid-La Salle Araneta (0-2) in Group B.
JEREMIAH M. SEVILLA