Builders Warehouse-UST aims to complete its upset bid when it tangles with Adalem Construction-St. Clare in sudden-death Game 2 of the Philippine Basketball Association D-League Aspirants Cup quarterfinals today at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Action fires off at 11 a.m. with both the Growling Tigers and Saints battling for the last ticket for a chance to face second seed EcoOil La Salle in the semifinals.
Top seed Apex Fuel-San Sebastian and Marinerong Pilipino, meanwhile, will collide in the other semifinal pairing.
With Ken Baclaan leading UST to a 98-93 stunner that disarmed Adalem of its twice-to-beat advantage on Friday, Tigers head coach Albert Alocillo is bracing for a tougher battle with their conference hopes on the line.
Baclaan, a rookie from La Salle-Zobel, fired 16 of his 35 points in the third quarter alone to spearhead the Tigers to the impressive win.
Big man Nic Cabanero also came up big with 25 markers and four boards, while veteran Sherwin Concepcion had a double-double game of 18 points and 13 rebounds.
For Alocillo, this kind of game fires up his wards, motivating them to do well while showcasing their talent and improving their chemistry.
“The players understand each other very well. We’re getting along and we embraced the system that we have,” Alocillo said.
“St. Clare is a champion team that’s why we cannot afford to relax. We need to keep working hard.”
But the Saints are raring to avoid disaster.
Adalem head coach Jinino Manansala said his players are eager to bounce back, knowing that their campaign is on the line.
“We didn’t want that kind of ending in (Game 1), but my boys will continue to fight. We believe that we can still get that win,” Manansala, who will bank on gunners Joshua Fontanilla, Johnsherick Estrada and John Rojas, said.