Go for Gold hopes to keep Marinerong Pilipino-TIP under its spell as the two teams start their best-of-three semi-finals series in the 2018 PBA D-League Foundation Cup on Tuesday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
The Scratchers have had the number of the Engineers, winning both of their elimination matchups, a 93-88 squeaker back in June 21and a convincing 86-71 rout last July 23.
As hot as they started the conference going undefeated through their first four games, the Scratchers have stumbled towards the homestretch.
Even coach Charles Tiu knows that finishing with a 7-3 card at second place is already an achievement for his crew given the player injuries and roster turnover he had to deal with.
"Well, I'm honestly not feeling too confident. We will have to just see how the games go. We still are missing three key players and it will be tough," he said.
Luckily, ex-pro Jerick Canada is there to shore up Go for Gold's guard rotation, joining Jai Reyes as they partner with their frontline of Jerwin Gaco, Gab Banal, and Vince Tolentino for the 6 p.m. game.
But the playoffs is a different story altogether, and surely, Marinerong Pilipino-TIP is coming in highly motivated for Game 1.
"They are the only team we did not beat this conference. We just want to make the game close and hopefully, snatch a game in the end," said coach Koy Banal.
Trevis Jackson and Robbie Manalang will carry the torch for the Engineers, while bigs Abu Tratter, Jorey Napoles, and Papa Ndiaye will provide the support down low.