Marinerong Pilipino battles Gamboa to stay in survival mode; Tanduay tries to boost semis bid vs AMA

PBA (file photo)
By Dugout Philippines

MANILA—Dead in the water two weeks ago, Marinerong Pilipino has suddenly found the buoy to keep itself afloat in the 2017 PBA D-League Foundation Cup.

And after three straight wins, Coach Koy Banal’s positive mindset is finally paying off as the Skippers resuscitate their chances in the playoff race.

“Right now, we are seeing the light at the end of the tunnel,” the affable mentor said as Marinerong Pilipino carry an even 4-4 slate with two games remaining in its schedule.

However, sweeping the remaining games for the Skippers won’t be an easy one, as they brace for also-ran Gamboa Coffee Mix (1-7) on Monday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.

Banal knows that no team in the league is a pushover, and that’s exactly what he’s ingraining to his crew which will once again be led by Mark Isip, Achie IƱigo, and Julian Sargent.

“Hindi natin pwedeng sabihin na Gamboa lang ang kalaban namin. Doon madalas nagkakawindang-windang eh. We just have to respect them the way we respect all the teams here in the D-League,” he said.

The Coffee Lovers have lost seven straight games since winning their season-opener, and Playing Coach Leo Avenido is desperate to at least achieve a silver lining as their conference approaches the finish line.

Game time is at 3 p.m., followed by the duel between Tanduay (6-2) and AMA Online Education (1-7) at 5 p.m.

Already assured of a quarterfinal seat, the Rhum Masters are seeking to at least put themselves on the conversation for the second outright semis seat.

Though chances are dim, Coach Lawrence Chongson is rather taking this last two games as a chance for him to test his squad for the playoffs.

“We have to stay sharp. Yung focus dapat nandoon, lalo na sa transition defense and we’re really putting emphasis on the team’s collective focus,” he said, as Tanduay will lean on Lester Alvarez, James Martinez, and Von Tambeling. “We got sustain the momentum. I’ve been here long enough and we know how it works.”

The Titans, on the other hand, would love nothing but to play the spoiler role this late in the conference, with Mario Bonleon and Andre Paras leading the fight for Coach Mark Herrera.

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