KNOCKING at joint third place, EcoOil-La Salle and Apex Fuel-San Sebastian figure in a crucial tiff to stay in the thick of the race for a top two finish and an outright semifinal berth in the PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup today at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Game time is at 12:30 p.m. with the winner between the Green Archers and the Golden Stags gaining a share of second place with idle Marinerong Pilipino (3-1) behind unbeaten pacer Wangs Basketball @26-Letran (3-0).
La Salle, parading a formidable core led by UAAP Mythical Five member Michael Phillips, looms as a slight favorite but coach Derrick Pumaren is not keen on being complacent especially against the gritty wards of mentor Egay Macaraya.
The Golden Stags indeed are becoming a tough nut to crack even against an established La Salle program with a two-game win streak highlighted by a 40-point demolition of AMA Online, 93-53.
But more than trying to land an upset over the towering Green Archers that finished third in the UAAP Season 84, Mr. Macaraya sees this as a learning opportunity for his frontline.
Adalem Construction-St. Clare (2-2) eyes a bounce back win after a loss while Builders Warehouse-Santo Tomas (0-3) aims to break through in their separate outing at 10:30 a.m. — John Bryan Ulanday