|PBA (file photo)|
By Dugout Philippines
MANILA--Five games in and Cignal HD coach Boyet Fernandez remains reluctant to accept the contender tag for the defending Aspirants’ Cup champions.
“We’re still a work-in-progress,” he quipped.
Shaky in their first assignments, the Hawkeyes find themselves at the middle of the pack with their 3-2 card.
And on Thursday, Cignal braces for another tough fight against a veteran-laden Gamboa Coffee Mix crew when the 2017 PBA D-League Foundation Cup rolls on at Ynares Sports Arena.
Fernandez acknowledges the huge discrepancy when it comes to experience between the two teams, noting that the Coffee Lovers are sure to give a Hawkeyes a tough time when the two teams clash at 12 n.n.
“Gamboa is a veteran squad and we just have to be ready for them. They have ex-pro players and sanay na sila sa PBA style, so we’ll be up against a very solid team,” he said.
Jason Perkins remains a game-time decision for Cignal, as Fernandez allowed his bruising forward to focus on his academic requirements in La Salle, leaving the heavy-lifting to Raymar Jose, Davon Potts, and Pamboy Raymundo.
Gamboa, meanwhile, will try to bounce back from its 119-105 loss to Flying V last week, as it banks on playing-coach Leo Avenido, Jens Knuttel, and Val Acuña.
In the second game, Batangas seeks to fortify its stronghold of the top spot as it braces against the still winless Centro Escolar University squad at 2 p.m.
Currently at second place with their 2-0 card, Batangueños coach Eric Gonzales made his goal clear to his boys that he wants nothing but to advance to the playoffs in the team’s second conference in the developmental ranks.
“Sabi ko sa kanila, pangarap ko mag-quarters kaya sana kasama kayo. Di ako sanay na kulelat eh. Sana mamunga lahat ng pinaghihirapan namin ngayon,” he said.
Batangas has drawn huge contributions from Joseph Sedurifa, Jessie Saitanan, and hero Cedric de Joya in its last outing, a thrilling 81-79 win over Wang's Basketball.
[Related Story: De Joya scores buzzer-beater to give Batangas win over Wang's]
The Scorpions, on the other hand, are looking to finally break through the win column behind Congolese big man Rod Ebondo, JK Casiño, and Aaron Jeruta.
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