Archers, Scorpions go for kill in PBA D-League semis

John Bryan Ulanday - Philstar.com
Archers, Scorpions go for kill in PBA D-League semis
Michael Phillips in action for the Green Archers.
PBA Images

Games Tuesday
(Ynares Sports Arena, Pasig)
4:30 p.m. – Marinerong Pilipino-San Beda vs CEU
7:30 p.m. – EcoOil-La Salle vs Go Torakku-St. Clare

MANILA, Philippines – Reigning champion EcoOil-La Salle and surprise contender Centro Escolar University go for the jugular against Go Torakku-St. Clare and Marinerong Pilipino-San Beda, respectively, in a bid to arrange a quick titular showdown in the 2024 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup Tuesday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.

The unbeaten Green Archers are heavily favored anew against the Saints at 7:30 p.m. as another fiery duel looms between the Scorpions and the Red Lions in the first game at 4:30 p.m.

La Salle and CEU sport 1-0 leads after contrasting victories in the openers of their best-of-three semifinal series. Another win could pave the way for their championship face-off, also under a best-of-three format, starting on Thursday at the same venue.

The Green Archers, also kings of the UAAP, trounced the Saints, 85-65 win to stay unbeaten in six games and move closer to their third straight finals appearance in the PBA’s developmental ranks.

It’s here for La Salle’s taking, despite an expected fightback from St. Clare.

“It brings us closer to where we want to but the series is not over. Again, we have to respect St. Clare as a team and it will be the same respect in Game 2,” said assistant Gian Nazario, who anticipates the return of his two veterans Jonnel Policarpio (stomach flu) and EJ Gollena (hamstring) to get the job done after missing Game 1.

In the other bracket, CEU’s dream upset over the fancied NCAA champion is shaping up closer to reality with a chance to cap it once and for all.

The Scorpions, back-to-back champions of the UCAL, seemed to have the number of the Red Lions in their two meetings so far, first a 72-63 win in the classifications to snatch the second seed and a 75-71 escape act in the series opener.

But that doesn’t mean CEU can enjoy overconfidence, especially against a formidable San Beda unit capable of coming back if given a chance.

“We just have to keep ourselves grounded. Our job’s not yet over. We still have to win one more game,” said coach Jeff Perlas.

“We just have to keep on believing that we belong here, that’s first. And at the same time, they have to bring that David inside them. We need one more inspiring win before looking ahead.”

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