Engineers target early playoff entry
John Bryan Ulanday (The Philippine Star) - August 15, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — With one foot already inside the playoffs, Technological Institute of the Philippines hopes to get going and formalize entry when it takes on Black Mamba in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup today at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City. 

Sporting a 3-1 slate for second place in Group B behind unbeaten BRT Sumisip Basilan-St. Clare, the Engineers play Black Mamba at 1:30 p.m., looking to push their drive not just for a quarters passage but a twice-to-beat bonus in the playoffs.

Meanwhile, unbeaten CEU eyes to tighten hold of Group A top spot as the Scorpions face off with the Aaron Black-led AMA Online Education team at 3:30 p.m., followed by the iWalk-Nailtalk-St. Dominic Savio collision at 5:30 p.m.

“We’re already looking ahead. We want to prepare for the playoff as early as now,” said TIP head coach Potit de Vera.

With Senegalese big man Papa Ndiaye and local aces Bryan Santos and Ivan Santos, the Engineers are favored over the Black Mamba side especially as they ride the momentum of a 133-98 shellacking of Italiano’s Homme the last time out.

That 35-point win was an emphatic bounce-back game for TIP after suffering its lone loss against Group B leader St. Clare, 90-76. 

Black Mamba, however, isn’t expected to be an easy assignment.

This D-League newcomer announced its arrival last week, fashioning out a come-from-behind 86-82 win over fellow league newbie Alberei.

“I have a high respect for coach Potit as one of my mentors. TIP is a strong and well-oiled collegiate line-up so we just have to match their energy all game long to have a chance,” said Black Mamba coach Vis Valencia. 

Tasked to lead Black Mamba are Dahrell Caranguian, Clark Derige and John Tayongtong who tallied 22, 14 and 10 markers, respectively, in their debut win last week.

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