MARINERONG Pilipino and Apex Fuel-San Sebastian dispute the last Finals seat in the 2022 PBA D-League Aspirants' Cup with Game Three of their semifinals duel set this Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Skippers failed to close out the best-of-three series despite Jollo Go's 28-point night and Juan Gomez de Liano's near-triple-double effort, which makes this 1 p.m. game a put up-or-shut up time for their side.
It's the challenge that coach Yong Garcia has laid out for his side as Marinerong Pilipino will be hard-pressed to prove that its position as a top contender before the season is no hype.
"Kailangan naming kunin. Hindi naman naipapanalo yung championship sa papel so kailangan naming patunayan yung inaasahan ng mga tao sa amin," he said after taking the tough 82-74 Game Two loss.
For the Golden Stags, the approach remains the same -- outwork the opposition. That same approach has led them to become the unlikely top seed of the tourney.
Apex Fuel-San Sebastian coach Egay Macaraya, though, is anticipating a big fightback from Marinerong Pilipino as he once again relies on Ichie Altamirano and Romel Calahat.
"Knowing coach Yong, I know there will be a lot of adjustments. So I hope we could rest and recover sa lahat ng nangyari," he said. (RL)