“We know we’re gonna be the underdog against Ateneo. We’re facing the no. 1 college team in the land. But outside of the UAAP and the NCAA, we believe that we’re also one of the best basketball programs in the land ngayon,” said Pumaren, who took over CEU’s program last year.
Durant, the 2017 and 2018 NBA Finals Most Valuable Player, sat out a month with a right calf injury before making a return in game five Monday only to go down with a right Achilles tendon injury, needing help to leave the court and crutches to exit the arena.
On the other hand, their opponents both lost in their last outings. The Hotshots lost badly to Alaska, 103-80, last June 5, while the Gin Kings absorbed a humiliating 104-81 spanking from Rain or Shine last June 7 as surprising trend in the elimination round of the midseason conference went unabated.
Marcelo Felipe, who recently topped the PRURide Philippines 2019 Stage Race in Subic, also shared the same belief as the two other Filipino riders, although he did not discount the possibility either of the opening stage playing a crucial role in deciding this year’s champion.
”Match na match kami ng BanKo-Perlas. Actually, first four sets, halos dikit na dikit kami, nagkakahiwalay kami pagdating sa dulo. Iniiwasan naming mag-fifth set kasi siyempre, kagagaling namin sa laro kahapon (Saturday),” said Lady Troopers mentor Kungfu Reyes.
"Sa States, talagang nag-fofocus sila sa individual skills. Iba kumpara dito kasi dito kasama ko yung buong team. Doon naman talagang nagfo-focus sila sa akin," said Sotto after the youth team's practice held at Ultra, Pasig. "Iba rin yung competitiveness ng mga kasama ko doon lalo na kung naglaro na ng five-on-five. Sobrang intense nila doon. Ako naman, siyempre bago ako doon, hindi ako magpapatalo sa kanila."
PETROGAZZ completed a first round sweep but not without surviving a valiant fight put up by Pacifictown-Army in the second set, while Creamline gave coach Tai Bundit a successful return yesterday in the PVL Reinforced Conference at the Filoil Flying V Centre.