CENTRO Escolar University and BRT Sumisip Basilan-St. Clare go at it one last time for the right to enter the 2019 PBA D-League Foundation Cup Finals Thursday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
The Scorpions and the Saints slug it out in the deciding Game Three of their semifinal series at 3:30 p.m, with the winner facing Marinerong Pilipino in a best-of-three title bout.
This do-or-die match is a situation all too familiar between the rivals as their semis encounter last conference also went to the limit, with CEU coming out on top on its way to a runner-up finish.
But unlike the last time out, it was the Scorpions who forced a rubber match with an 83-68 Game 2 win last Monday.
"After the loss in Game One, I told them I want to see the heart we had last conference and that's what we showed," said coach Derrick Pumaren. "We just gotta carry it again on Thursday."
Momentum may be on CEU's side, but the fact isn't lost on Pumaren that it still has to reign triumphant on Thursday if it really wants to advance to its second straight Finals appearance.
"We're happy we were able to survive, but we haven't won anything yet, we haven't proven anything yet. It is far from over," said Pumaren, who will bank on Malick Diouf and Rich Guinitaran once more.
BRT Sumisip-St. Clare, of course, does not want history to repeat itself and it only has its sights set on revenge.
But no matter how hungry the Saints are in securing redemption, coach Stevenson Tiu knows doing so is easier said than done.
"Gustong gutso nilang makabawi sa CEU. Alam naman nila na yun ang challenge para sa kanila," said the veteran mentor, who'll once again bank on Junjie Hallare, Joshua Fontanilla, and Mohammad Pare to get the job done.