September 11, 2019

Marinerong Pilipino seeks repeat over AMA to earn quick passage to semis

TOP-seeded Marinerong Pilipino plans to put its win-once incentive into good use when it takes on AMA Online Education in the 2019 PBA D-League Foundation Cup quarterfinals on Thursday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.

The Skippers are fresh from an 88-74 conquest of Centro Escolar University last Monday that enabled them to secure the top spot in Group A with a 6-0 card, and they definitely look to keep their momentum going versus the Titans.

Another motivation for Marinerong Pilipino in the 1:30 p.m. tiff is a chance to return to the semis after missing out on the Final Four last conference, a first since the franchise entered the developmental ranks in 2017.

However, it's not lost on coach Yong Garcia that the Skippers will have to prepare as hard as they can against AMA, which gave them a tough challenge last August 8 where they had to avert an 18-point meltdown before securing the 81-72 win.

"Yung AMA game namin, dikit yun. Kailangan namin sila paghandaan," said Garcia, who will once again bank on experience of ex-pros Eloy Poligrates, Dan Sara, and JR Alabanza.

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The Titans, on the other hand, are looking to exact revenge and spoil the Skippers' outright semis bid.

Second-generation cager Aaron Black as well as fellow ex-Ateneo Blue Eagle Vince Tolentino and Dennis Santos are all expected to spearhead AMA, which is coming off a dominant 133-90 win over Hazchem last September 5.

AMA is bidding for its first-ever semifinal appearance since entering the developmental ranks in 2014.

"Mahirap silang kalaban pero gagawin naman ng players ko lahat ng kaya nila para makaabot kami sa semis," said coach Mark Herrera.