by Jonas Terrado
(Marikina Sports Complex)
3 p.m. – Racal vs CafeFrance
5 p.m. – Cignal vs Tanduay
The Cignal-San Beda Hawkeyes and CaféFrance Bakers look to draw one step closer towards a finals encounter as they start their respective best-of-three semifinal series today in the PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup at the Marikina Sports Complex.
Cignal hopes to live up to its billing as the league’s top team when it battles Tanduay in the main game at 5 p.m. after CafeFrance faces No. 2-ranked Racal in the 3 p.m. opener of a rare doubleheader in the northeast portion of the metropolis.
Cignal topped the elimination round with an 8-1 record, having gone unbeaten since losing its opening assignment to AMA Online Education to secure an outright semifinals berth.
CaféFrance, on the other hand, finished third at 6-3 and had to weather off a stubborn challenge of Jose Rizal University in the quarterfinals to arrange a meeting with Racal, which claimed the other outright semis spot with its 7-2 elims mark.
Much of Cignal’s success has been credited to the strong plays of former La Salle star Jason Perkins and San Beda mainstays Robert Bolick, Davon Potts, and Javee Mocon. Hawkeyes coach Boyet Fernandez is hopeful that they could sustain the run against the Rhum Masters.
Tanduay reached the semis after dispatching AMA behind former Letran stars Mark Cruz and Bong Quinto and ex-PBA veteran Jerwin Gaco.
CaféFrance, eyeing a second title after its conquest of the 2015 Foundation Cup, is banking on Paul Desiderio and Rod Ebondo to carry the team against a Racal side that beaten them 82-78 last March 9 at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
The Bakers seek to stop the Tile Masters squad led by Rey Nambatac, Kent Salado, and Sidney Onwubere.