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Marinero, Tanduay vie for last semis ride

PBA (file photo)

By Ivan Saldajeno

MANILA--Midway into the eliminations of the PBA D-League Foundation Cup, Marinerong Pilipino was on the brink of an early ouster.

Now, the team is on the cusp of slaying a league giant.

“We believe that miracles still happen,” said Coach Koy Banal ahead of the Skippers' knockout showdown against the Tanduay Rhum Masters at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig on Tuesday.

The sixth-seeded Marinero, which forced the rubber match after winning on Thursday night, can close out its quarterfinal upset of the third-seeded Tanduay in their 4 p.m. match for the right to face Cignal in the semifinals.

Banal, however, remains wary that the Rhum Masters will bounce back and assure that only the top four teams after the preliminaries will make the Final Four.

“We may be in a momentum, but Tanduay is a different kind of animal. We have to prepare hard and work hard with them again to get the win,” he continued.

For his part, despite losing his twice-to-beat advantage, Tanduay coach Lawrence Chongson once again stressed how he likes the decider games.

“Itong mga ganitong do-or-die games ang nagpapa-excite sa amin. We would've wanted to go the easy way out, but it is what is. Our opponents were able to prove that in spite of being newcomers, they're no pushovers. So we'll have to show them more respect, I suppose, moving forward to Game 2,” he said.

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