Hapee, Cafe France clash for D-League crown today
After going through the distance in the last two stages, Hapee hopes to survive another do-or-die match when it disputes the championship against Cafe France in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup today.
“We’ve reached several Game 3s, we’re used to this experience,” said Hapee stalwart Art dela Cruz. “The pressure isn’t on us.”
The winner-take-all match is set at 3 p.m. at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
After forcing a decider with a 76-70 triumph in Game 2, the Bakers vow to come out with the same firepower anchored on Samboy de Leon, Maverick Ahanmisi and Eloy Poligrates.
“We expect Hapee to make some adjustments, but I have so much confidence in my players,” said Cafe France coach Egay Macaraya. “They are motivated and very determined to win the championship.”
A victory will give the Bakers their first league crown since joining the league in 2011.
The Fresh Fighters, though, aim to draw from their experience this conference where they survived do-or-die matches versus Jumbo Plastic in the quarterfinals and No. 1 Cebuana Lhuillier in the semifinals.
“We just have to hold on to each other and keep the faith,” said Hapee mentor Ronnie Magsanoc.
The Fresh Fighters took Game 1, 83-72, behind the outstanding performances of Troy Rosario, Scottie Thompson, Baser Amer and Chris Newsome.
But in Game 2, the Fresh Fighters found their groove a tad late and injuries on Ola Adeogun, Amer and Dela Cruz also compounded their woes.
“They outworked us, they outplayed us,” Magsanoc said of the Bakers. “You cannot fall behind with too big a margin because [Cafe France] is a very good team and a very disciplined team.”
“We still have one shot,” said Magsanoc, who won the Aspirants Cup last April.