PBA D-LEAGUE: NLEX, Freego seek key winsBy Cedelf P. Tupas
Philippine Daily Inquirer
MANILA, Philippines—For both NLEX and Freego Jeans, it has come to a point where one loss could snuff out their hopes of clinching a semifinal seat in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup.
Still in the hunt for an outright spot in the Final Four, the Road Warriors and Jeans Makers clash with separate rivals Tuesday at the FilOil-Flying V Arena in San Juan.
NLEX tackles dangerous Boracay Rum at 2 p.m, before Freego collides with Café France at 4. PC Gilmore, a long shot in the quarterfinal round, battles an out-of-it Dub Unlimited squad in the curtain-raiser at 12 noon.
Sporting a 5-1 card, the Road Warriors hope to sustain their menacing form against the Waves in a bid to make the semifinals outright and gain an extra break.
But getting past Boracay Rum is easier said than done with the Waves also displaying fine form before the holiday break.
“With a very good coach and a solid unit, Boracay Rum is a dangerous team,” said NLEX coach Boyet Fernandez of the Waves, who have won three of their last five outings.
“Their two defeats were won games, they just lost in the end.”
The game against Boracay Rum is actually the first of two in a three-day span for the Road Warriors, who will battle RnW Pacific Pipes on Thursday.
And Fernandez believes this key stretch and the Jan. 12 showdown with Cebuana Lhuillier could pretty much gauge their title credentials.
“Our immediate goal is to win our first two games before we face Cebuana,” said Fernandez, who steered the Road Warriors to the title in the inaugural edition of the league.
“We want to be in the Top 2 but our game against Boracay Rum and Pacific Pipes will be crucial for us.”
The Jeans Makers are looking to bounce back after losing two of their last three games.
And coach Leo Austria stressed the importance of heads-up play as the Jeans Makers try to sweep their last two games.
“Those games can give us an opportunity to gain at least a tie for one of two slots in the semifinals,” said Austria.
With a 2-5 slate, PC Gilmore needs to win its last three games to gain a chance of making the quarterfinals.