July 19, 2018, 5:48 am
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Falcons test grit of Revellers

RANGED against eliminations topnotcher Akari-Adamson, Che’Lu Bar and Grill-SSC coach Stevenson Tiu readily admitted that his charges have their work cut out for them.

“We have to work doubly hard against Akari, alam naman natin na disciplined team ‘yan and knowing Franz Pumaren, walang time para mag-relax,” Tiu said after his team scored an 80-72 victory over Gamboa Coffee Mix-St. Clare in their quarterfinals battle last April 10.

“We have to prepare,” he added.

Whether the No. 4 Revellers have done enough in their preparations will be known today when they tackle the Soaring Falcons as the best-of-three semifinals of the PBA D-League Aspirant’s Cup get going at the Pasig Sports Center.

The match is set at 2 p.m. with Akari-Adamson out to follow up its 71-64 triumph over Jose Rizal U that gave the Soaring Falcons an outright semis slot at the end of the eliminations last April 5.

Clashing in the other semis match-up at 12 p.m. are second-ranked Marinerong Pilipino and sixth seed Zark’s Burger-Lyceum.

Akari-Adamson tactician Franz Pumaren stressed that the Falcons are not slowing down.

“We’re still going to practice and we’re going back to the basics,” said Pumaren.

Six-foot-7 Cameroonian import Papi Sarr, Sean Manganti, Jerrick Ahanmisi, and Jerom Lastimosa are expected to lead Akari-Adamson’s charge.

Tiu is hoping his players can do away with their slow starts, saying: “Usually ganoon kasi ang tendency ng mga players ko (start slow), ang sinasabi ko pa naman sa pre-game ko ay we have to start strong. May tendency kaming mag-relax.”

Che’Lu Bar and Grill-SSC will draw strength from new addition Jeff Viernes, RK Ilagan, former pro Samboy De Leon, Allyn Bulanadi, and Cedric Ablaza.

The Falcons trounced the Revellers 84-75 in the eliminations last Feb. 13.

Despite a twice-to-beat disadvantage, the Jawbreakers completed a stunning ouster of No.3 Centro Escolar U in the quarters, including an 82-77 decision in their knockout duel last April 13.

 “We want to keep on growing with more games we play. We’re just blessed to be here in the semis. We know that coach Joel and coach Koy (Banal) are really good basketball coaches and it’s going to make me better,” said Zark’s Burger-Lyceum strategist Topex Robinson. 

“I’ve got nothing to lose. I’m up against the coaches that I idolized and I’m closed with. I’m excited for the series.” – Michael Jugado

The likes of reigning NCAA MVP CJ Perez, 6-foot-6 Cameroonian behemoth Mike Harry Nzeusseu, Mer Ayaay, and twins Jayvee and Jaycee Marcelino will be counted upon by the Jawbreakers.

The Skippers will go into the match armed with an 82-67 drubbing of the Revellers to bag the second outright semis berth in their finals eliminations game last April 3.

Marinerong Pilipino will rely on new addition and pro league veteran Denok Miranda, Gab Banal, Rian Ayonayon, Vince Tolentino, and Alvin Pasaol.

The Skippers nipped Zark’s Burger-Lyceum 94-92 last Jan. 18. 
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