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Monday, December 4, 2023

APEX Fuel, EcoOil face off in D-League

Games on Thursday (Smart Araneta Coliseum)

10:30 a.m. – Builders Warehouse-UST vs Adalem Construction-St. Clare

12:30 p.m. – Apex Fuel-San Sebastian vs EcoOil-La Salle

APEX Fuel-San Sebastian and EcoOil-La Salle part ways in the 2022 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup Thursday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Both carrying 2-1 cards, the Golden Stags and the Green Archers collide at 12:30 p.m. as they both look to boost theirbids to snag a top two seat that comes with an outright semifinals berth.

For Apex Fuel-San Sebastian, it’s all about extending its win streak to three after a dominant 93-53 blowout of AMA Online on Tuesday.

Yet coach Egay Macaraya is looking at this game as an opportunity to further test the mettle of his wards especially with guys like James Una and Romel Calahat stepping up for the Golden Stags.

“It’s going to be a learning process for them. Malaki ang magiging kalaban namin at ito yung mga challenge na hinahanda namin para sa mga big man namin,” he said.

Macaraya knows what he’s saying, all the more with Fil-Am rebounding demon Michael Phillips carrying the torch for EcoOil-La Salle.

Green Archers mentor Derick Pumaren, though, said that the pressure shouldn’t fall on Phillips’ shoulders alone as he expects a better outing from his crew after a surprising 76-65 affair against Centro Escolar University last Friday.

“We cannot be like that. We cannot underestimate teams and take any team for granted here. We have to be competitive and that’s the thing that we should not do against San Sebastian,” he said.

CJ Austria, Penny Estacio, and Emman Galman have had their moments for EcoOil-La Salle as it attempts to win back-to-back games.

In the first game, winless Builders Warehouse-UST (0-3) looks to halt its winless start against a familiar foe in Adalem Construction-St. Clare (2-2).

It’s going to be an interesting clash in the 10:30 a.m. matinee with the Growling Tigers reacquainting themselves against a Saints squad which has Joshua Fontanilla and head coach Jinino Manansala on their side.

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