Elite tackle Warriors in key D-League battle todayBy June Navarro
Philippine Daily Inquirer
BLACKWATER Sports faces its toughest test yet in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup when the Elite tangle with the NLEX Road Warriors today at Blue Eagle Gym.
With three games to go before the playoffs, the Elite (7-1) are gunning for an outright semifinal seat in their 12 noon duel with the Warriors (5-2), who are on a similar five-game streak like Blackwater.
“I like our position,” said Blackwater coach Leo Isaac. “If we continue to play disciplined basketball on both ends, I think the future looks good.”
Isaac will again rely on the solid core of Justin Chua, Narciso Llagas, James Mangahas, Allen Mangahas and Giorgio Ciriacruz.
The defending champion Road Warriors will be handled by assistant coach Adonis Tierra after regular mentor Boyet Fernandez, who also handles San Beda in the NCAA, left on Saturday for the US where the Red Lions will train for two weeks in preparation for their title defense.
The Warriors took some time to adjust to the exit of big men Greg Slaughter and Ian Sanggalang and they opened the season with back-to-back losses. But they eventually found their groove and now they seem headed for another title run.
“That has always been our goal,” Fernandez had said. “The loss of Sanggalang and Slaughter has left us with a big hole in the middle. But the guys are determined to make a statement.”
The NLEX turnaround was credited to the improved plays of Byron Villarias, Nico Salva, Ronald Pascual, Garvo Lanete, Jake Pascual, Matthew Ganuelas, Kirk Long, Eric Camson, Borgie Hermida and Kevin Alas.
In other matches, Fruitas (5-3) tackles Hog’s Breath (1-7) at 10 a.m. and EA Regens (4-3) takes on Informatics (0-8) at 2 p.m.
Fueled by their recent 106-75 rout of Informatics, the Shakers are hoping to stay in contention while Team Delta tries to recover from a 67-71 defeat to the Elite.
The Razorbacks and the Icons are already out of the playoffs.