Hapee, Cafe France eye Finals slots
Hapee and Cafe France try to arrange a title showdown when they shoot for repeat semifinal wins in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup Thursday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
The Fresh Fighters, whose depleted lineup made them the series underdog against top qualifier Cebuana Lhuillier, shoot for another win over the Gems in Game 2 of the best-of-three semifinals at 3 p.m.
“I think good things come to those who work really hard,” said Hapee coach Ronnie Magsanoc, whose team continues to exude power despite the absence of several standouts due to various reasons.
The Bakers, the second seed playing their best conference yet, also aim to finish off Cagayan Valley in the other Final Four duel at 1 p.m.
“Opportunity knocks, so we have to go for it,” said Cafe France coach Egay Mcaraya.
The Fresh Fighters had to do without national team players Troy Rosario, Baser Amer and Scottie Thompson after losing former MVPs Ray Parks, who is in the US, and the injured Garvo Lanete.
Yet the Fresh Fighters easily disposed of the Gems in Game 1, 82-71, behind Art dela Cruz, Ola Adeogun and Chris Newsome to stay on track of their back-to-back championship bid.
“I think the players are really challenged,” said Magsanoc.
But the Gems vow to even the series behind Moala Tautuaa, who played with a sprained ankle in Game 1.