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Phoenix ready to meditate on excellence as crucial rematch with Cafe France beckons

PBA (file photo)

By Ivan Saldajeno

QUEZON CITY--Phoenix Accelerators coach Eric Gonzales reminded his players of a Scripture passage as the team prepares for its second round meeting with the Cafe France-CEU Bakers in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup on Thursday.

"I told them, '...if there is any excellence... think about these things,'" said Gonzales ahead of the pivotal showdown at 4 p.m. at the JCSGO Gym that could either shape the semifinal picture or even complicate it.

A win by Cafe France will hand them and Racal the twice-to-beat advantage in the next round with the final ranking to be determined after the final game day of the eliminations on Tuesday, where both teams will see action against the Mindanao and AMA respectively.

However, a Phoenix victory will keep them alive in the race for the Top 2 spots, but they may need to hope that Mindanao pulls an epic upset against Cafe France on Tuesday to finally get the semis bonus.

Meanwhile, after a computation done by Dugout Philippines on Wednesday, it was deduced that the Accelerators can still claim a twice-to-beat edge in the semis even if they end up in a three-way tie with the Bakers and the Tile Masters at 9-3 after Tuesday. The FEU alumni-loaded squad must beat the CEU-cored team by 17 or more, though.

Recent history may not be on Phoenix's side as Cafe France beat them in their first meeting on July 21.

[Related Story: Cafe France subdues Phoenix in OT of finals rematch]

"We're gonna approach a champion team on Thursday, so hindi pwede na ang basketball namin matamlay. They need to respect the opponent. But ready na silang mag-bounce back," the gaffer of the reigning Aspirants Cup champs continued about the showdown with the defending Foundation Cup holders.

The Titans, on the other hand, take on the Tanduay Rhum Masters in the first game at 2 p.m. with some playoff implications also involved.

Although out of the running for the semifinal incentive, Tanduay can still finish with a better seed in the playoffs if they beat AMA and Mindanao stuns Cafe France on Tuesday.

Follow him on Twitter: @IvanSaldajeno