CAGAYAN Valley aims to sustain its surprise run while Big Chill tries to show its old ferocious form when both squads vie for semifinal berths against separate opponents in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup today.
The Rising Suns—who unexpectedly clinched the No. 3 spot after a winless stint in the last conference—tackle the resurgent Cebuana Lhuiller Gems at the start of the quarterfinal round at 2 p.m. at Filoil Flying V Arena in San Juan.
The Superchargers hope to bounce back from a sputtering finish late in the eliminations when they battle the Jose Rizal University Bomberrs at 4 p.m.
“We hope things will work in our favor,” said Big Chill coach Robert Sison. “We had a chance to make it outright to the semifinals, but those [late elimination] losses hurt our chances. But I still believe in my players and we can go as far as we want.”
Both Cagayan Valley and Big Chill hold a twice-to-beat quarterfinal advantage as incentive for finishing third and fourth at the end of the eliminations.
A victory by both squads will propel them to the semifinals in the company of three-time champion NLEX and Blackwater Sports.
NLEX and Blackwater Sports clinched the first two semifinal berths by topping the eliminations.
Sison said his Superchargers will take the floor with a must-win mindset after they barely slipped past the Bombers, 77-76, in the eliminations courtesy of a Mark Canlasbuzzer-beater.
Sison’s top guard, Terrence Romeo, however, remains doubtful due to a hairline fracture on his right hand.
Cagayan coach Alvin Pua also sees a tight encounter with the Gems, who stunned his Rising Suns, 86-82, in the eliminations.
“We have an opportunity to get even,” said Pua, who is expected to lean on Chris Exciminiano, Eliud Poligrates, James Forrester and Raymond Almazan. “Cebuana was really impressive in its past two games, so we have to play defense for 40 minutes.”