Big Chill, Cebuana dispute last semifinal slot
MANILA, Philippines — Big Chill hopes to complete an upset of Cebuana Lhuillier when they dispute the last semifinal berth in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup Tuesday at Meralco Gym in Pasig City.
The Superchargers, confident that they have hit their stride, try to overcome the Gems’ twice-to-beat edge in the 2 p.m. knockout duel after prevailing in their first meeting, 72-64.
“We’ve been in this situation before, we can handle the pressure,” said Big Chill coach Robert Sison. “I know that Cebuana will be coming back strong and we’re ready for that.”
The winner of the rubber match will take on NLEX, the unbeaten top seed, in the best-of-three Final Four series starting Thursday.
Clashing in the other semifinal pairing are No. 2 Jumbo Plastic and defending champion Blackwater Sports, which quickly disposed of Cafe France in their own quarterfinal series.
The Superchargers forged a winner-take-all match behind the superb efforts of Janus Lozada and Brian Heruela, the burly Cebuano guard who helped the squad get back in top form after an erratic start to the conference.
“Brian did a good job keeping the team together,” said Sison. “His leadership was the key for us.”
While the Superchargers got a lift from their ace guard, the Gems again have to do without one of their backcourt standouts.
James Martinez is expected to sit out anew due to a knee injury, but Gems guards Paul Zamar and Marcy Arellano try to take up the scoring cudgels again after combining for 28 points in their last outing.
Mentored by Boycie Zamar, the Gems are actually hoping to snap out of a four-game losing spell with Cebuana forwards Bam Gamalinda and Brian Ilad in a slump.
Both Gamalinda and Ilad were held to single-digit outputs in their last game against the Superchargers.