Cafe France, Racal in battle royale as semis spot on the line

PBA (file photo)
By Dugout Philippines

MANILA--Stakes are at an all-time high when two of the league’s powerhouse squads in Cafe France and Racal clash in the 2017 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup Thursday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.

Currently tied at second with their identical 6-1 records and just trailing Cignal-San Beda (7-1) in the team standings, both the Bakers and the Tile Masters part ways as they figure in a key matchup which can decide who will snare the outright semis berth.

Racal coach Jerry Codinera acknowledges that his side has its hands full against Cafe France, saying, “That’s a champion team.”

The PBA great also said that the Tile Masters are coming in as underdogs in the duel, citing the offseason tiff between the two squads where the Bakers made quick work disposing Racal.

“Malakas talaga sila and natalo nila kami sa offseason, but we’ll be ready to make some adjustments. We have players naman na I hope can provide quality support for our leaders,” he said.

Codinera will bank on the trio of Kent Salado, Sidney Onwubere, and Jackson Corpuz for the 5 p.m. showdown.

Cafe France, meanwhile, is just seeking to clean up its act going to the postseason as Coach Egay Macaraya eggs his wards to be more consistent on both ends of the floor.

“Di pa rin kami consistent. But the only thing I can hope is for us to have a breakout game because we badly need that dahil parang on and off kami lagi,” he said.

What better way to have that for the Bakers against the Tile Masters, where a win could also inch the victor closer to a top two seat.

“Ang maganda dito is yung destiny, nasa kamay pa rin namin. We have to win our remaining games to hopefully land a spot in the top two,” said Macaraya, as he banks on the leadership of Paul Desiderio, Michael Calisaan, and Rod Ebondo for the game.

The game will immediately follow the 3 p.m. matchup between Tanduay (4-3), which is still in the hunt for a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals, and also-ran Blu (0-7).

Follow the site on Twitter: @DugoutPH