By Jerome Lagunzad
Games Today (Ynares Sports Arena)
12 p.m. – Akari-Adamson vs Perpetual
2 p.m. – JRU vs Zark’s Burgers-Lyceum
Akari-Adamson takes on dangerous Perpetual Help today at the Ynares Sports Arena, with the Falcons out to boost their bid for a Top 2 finish in the 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup.
The Falcons will come into the 12 p.m. showdown determined to stretch their winning streak to four matches, gain a share of the top spot with the idle Centro Escolar University Scorpions and stay in strong contention for the top two spots that dangle a pair of outright semifinal seats.
“I’ll be hypocrite if I tell you that I’m not thinking about that,” said Akari-Adamson coach Franz Pumaren. “But for each game, we try to establish our identity and basically that’s what we’re doing. We’re here to gain some experience.”
The Altas, now under the tutelage of four-time NCAA champion coach Frankie Lim, are eager to prop up their 3-5 mark and keep themselves in the playoff hunt, with only four slots left up for grabs.
Clashing at 2 p.m. are title contender Zark’s Burgers and also-ran Jose Rizal University.
The Jawbreakers, who ended a three-game losing skid at the expense of Go for Gold, 108-94, last Monday, are determined to improve their 5-4 slate, break from a three-way tie at the fifth spot and boost their own playoff push.
The Heavy Bombers, losers of their last seven matches, are eager to play the spoilers’ role to the hilt as they try to make the most of their remaining matches under the guidance of promising mentor Gio Lasquety.
A bigger share of the focus, however, will be on the opener, with Akari-Adamson’s athletic big man Sean Manganti expected to lead their offensive charge following a 24-point explosion in their 90-71 win over Wang’s Basketball last week.
But the Falcons, especially their frontcourt led by Cameroonian Papi Sarr, will have their hands full as they try to slow down the Altas’ dominant center Prince Eze who piled up 22 points and 20 rebounds on top of four blocks in their 89-81 victory over AMA Online Education last Monday.