by Jerome Lagunzad
Games Today (Pasig City Sports Center)
2 p.m. – Gamboa Coffee Mix vs Che’Lu Bar and Grill
4 p.m. – Zark’s Burger-Lyceum vs CEU
Higher seeded teams, Centro Escolar University and Che’Lu Bar and Grill, brace for a tough grind against quarterfinal rivals as the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup playoff round gets going today at the Pasig City Sports Center.
The third-ranked Scorpions, armed with a twice-to-beat advantage, are expected to have their hands full in their 4 p.m. collision with the sixth-seeded Zark’s Burgers Jawbreakers built around the core of NCAA finalist Lyceum Pirates.
If prized Congolese center Rod Ebondo gets the green light to suit up after being sidelined by a back injury in their last three matches in the eliminations, CEU should be tipped as the favorites courtesy of its 91-85 victory over Zark’s Burgers in their initial meeting last Feb. 20.
Scorpions coach Yong Garcia, however, remains wary that the Jawbreakers are primed up for an ambush.
“We know what they’re capable of so I don’t see any reason why we should take them lightly. We’re expecting nothing less than a tight battle,” he said.
The fourth-seeded Revellers, also equipped with a playoff bonus, are also doing their best not to be lulled into a false sense of complacency as they square off with the upstart Coffee Lovers of fifth-ranked Gamboa Coffee Mix in the 2 p.m. opener.
Che’Lu Bar and Grill defeated Gamboa Coffee Mix, 79-73, in their previous encounter, but Revellers coach Stevenson Tiu admitted they cannot look past the Coffee Lovers who have proven they can upstage the perceived favorites.