Archers bracing for loaded week

John Bryan Ulanday - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines — EcoOil-La Salle gears up for a giant mountain to scale against Marinerong Pilipino and, interestingly, versus itself in the D-League Aspirants’ Cup finals serving as a backdrop to the PBA Philippine Cup finals starting Sunday.

As if Marinero is not already a formidable team to handle, La Salle is poised to face an added hurdle in their D-League championship bid with the possible juggling act with its other preseason tournament.

The D-League is a best-of-three duel and is expected to go full route until next week, thus possibly running smack with the Filoil EcoOil Preseason Cup playoffs where La Salle is a strong contender.

Fatigue, hectic schedule and tight preparation will stand in the way for the Green Archers, who nonetheless assured their readiness and willingness to go the extra mile in order to capture the coveted title in D-League’s first foray amid the pandemic.

“We already anticipated that. It’s part of the program so whatever it takes, we will continue what we have to do. It will not stop us from performing,” vowed Derrick Pumaren, brimming with confidence his wards could take the toll of the upcoming loaded week.

To get the job done, the seasoned mentor is hoping for a full-force squad that he can rotate as they brace for an all-out war against the powerhouse Skippers, and in the other league.

“We’re hit by some injuries so hopefully I can get a full line-up in the finals,” said Pumaren as La Salle is hopeful to have ace guard Mark Nonoy back.

in stable against Marinero led by the backcourt duo of Juan Gomez de Liaño and Jollo Go.

For Pumaren, it’s actually his return to the D-League finals after a magical runner-up finish with Centro Escolar U in the 2019 Aspirants’ Cup despite a seven-man roster against eventual champion Cignal-Ateneo.

Now up against another set of odds and an expected heavy challenge from Marinero, the decorated tactician is determined to finish the business this time for a good first step approaching the UAAP Season 85 next month.

Leading that mission are Gilas Pilipinas forward Kevin Quimbao, streaky guards Evan Nelle and Schonny Winston, CJ Austria and UAAP Season 84 Mythical Five member Michael Phillips.


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