Game today (Araneta Coliseum)
1:30 p.m. – Blackwater vs NLEX
NLEX and defending champion Blackwater rekindle their rivalry as both squads are set for one last collision course in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup when their three game finals series starts today at the Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
Tip off is at 1:30 p.m. with the Road Warriors looking to erase the memories of being swept by the same team in the finals last year.
Co-incidentally, this is also a battle of two teams hoping to finish their stint in the D-League on a high note as both squads are set to join the PBA starting next season.
The Road Warriors are heading into the series on a romp, having won all of their 11 games in the tournament so far. The boys of Boyet Fernandez swept the nine-game eliminations, before dispatching a gritty Cebuana Lhuillier squad in two hard fought games which concluded in a 62-61 thriller.
Now Fernandez is bracing himself for the Elite who also comes in with a lot of momentum having won their last four games.
“As of now Blackwater is really playing as a team. We have to be ready for them cause they’re really playing well right now,” Fernandez said.
“They’re really quick. Their big guys are quick, (Gilbert) Bulawan and (Reil) Cervantes have been playing well. Their point guards in (Nard) Pinto and (Mark) Cruz are doing great. Ang lakas e, wala kang pipiliin pero we’ll try to find ways to win this one,” he added.
Man for man, the Elite could be the only team that could match with the firepower of NLEX which makes this match-up much more interesting.
While NLEX boasts of such gunners in the perimeter such as Kevin Alas, Garbo Lanete and Ronald Pascual, Blackwater will be matching it up with lightning quick guards in Mark Cruz, Jericho Cruz and Nard Pinto.
On the interior, the rugged duo of Reil Cervantes and Gilbert Bulawan will be backstopped by new addition Raul Soyud to try and strip Nigerian behemoth Ola Adeogun down low.
Asked if their 102-84 victory over the Elite in the first game of the eliminations is a good indication of the upcoming finals series at hand, Fernandez responded in the negative.
“We’re happy that we’re here pero alam ko na pagdating ng finals zero-zero na yun.”