Akari-Adamson aims to continue what has been an overachieving campaign in the 2018 PBA D-League Aspirants' Cup when it faces Che'Lu Bar and Grill-San Sebastian in Game 1 of their best-of-three semi-finals Tuesday at Pasig Sports Center.
"It was a surprise on our part because we joined the league with the sole purpose of gaining experience. But now that we're here, we'll still continue what were doing. Right now, it's more of the little things," he said.
For coach Franz Pumaren, finishing at the top of the standings after the eliminations were quite a surprise for him given how he perceives the Falcons as a team which is still a work-in-progress.
"At the start of the season, if you told me that we'll be up as the number one team, I'll be thinking you're just pulling my leg," he admitted.
But the stellar play of Jerrick Ahanmisi, Sean Manganti, and Jonathan Espeleta have allowed Akari-Adamson to rack up a 9-2 card, besting some of the league's early favorites.
Now that they're in the Final Four, Pumaren is going for broke as the Falcons go all-in for the championship, starting in this 2 p.m. tussle against the Revellers.
Akari-Adamson easily dispatched Che'Lu-San Sebastian, 84-75 in their eliminations meeting last Feb. 13, and Pumaren would love to replicate that result twice over and book its ticket to the championship dance.
On the other hand, the Revellers hope that their rejigged lineup will do wonders and pull off the upset against the top-seed Falcons.
"Siguro we have to work doubly hard kasi sobrang disciplined na team yan eh. Walang time na makapagrelax ka eh. We really have to prepare for them," he said.
Losing Michael Calisaan midway through the season, Tiu is banking on his new acquisitions like Jeff Viernes and Jay-R Taganas to pair up with holdovers Samboy de Leon and upstarts Allyn Bulanadi and RK Ilagan to get the job done for Che'Lu-San Sebastian.
"Ang gusto lang naman natin, mabigyan natin sila ng magandang laban. Malay mo, makakuha kami ng panalo," he said.