Marinerong Pilipino and EcoOil-La Salle seek victories against separate opponents to arrange a title showdown in the PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum Sunday.
The revitalized Green Archers are determined to punch the first finals ticket at the expense of Adalem Construction-St. Clare in the 10 a.m. opener, while the Skippers eye to put the finishing touches against Apex Fuel-San Sebastian at noon.
While Marinerong Pilipino and La Salle carry the same momentum, they are driven by two different inspirations.
The Skippers, for their part, are anchored by their desire to make a return trip since their bridesmaid finishes in the 2019 Foundation Cup.
During that time, the Yong Garcia-mentored squad failed to capture the title as it fell short to BRT Sumisip Basilan, which was then backed up by the Saints.
But with a stronger lineup this season, Garcia is keeping his fingers crossed that his chargers would sustain the momentum they got from their 74-66 win over the Stags.
Juan Gomez de Liaño powered the team to the victory with 16 points and 10 rebounds while Arvin Gamboa put up 15 markers, five boards, and two assists.
“We’re happy because our players executed our game plan very well. Hopefully, in Game 2, we can execute it again,” Garcia said.
La Salle, meanwhile, found extra firepower in the presence of Deschon Winston and Mark Nonoy, who initially missed the elimination round.
Relying on its young backcourt and athletic frontcourt, Green Archers tactician Derrick Pumaren finally got an extra boost with Winston and Nonoy joining them in the D-League stage.
The two quickly made their presence felt with Winston and Nonoy combining for 39 points in their 89-74 win over Adalem on Friday.