PAGADIAN, Zambonga del Sur — No. 2 seed Clarin aims to stamp its class Sunday to kick off the first phase of the 2021 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup best-of-three semifinals.
Standing on their way is the veteran-filled fifth-ranked Zamboanga City.
They collide at 6 pm at the Pagadian City Gymnasium here.
The Sto. Niño were coming off a five-day rest, refreshing the legs of their cagers in this compact schedule, which saw teams played three games in three days.
“Nagpahinga lang kami at training lang para sa JPS kasi alam naman namin na hindi basta basta ang JPS. Isa sa mga powerhouse team yan,” said Clarin head coach Miguel Borilla Jr.
In their elimination round matchup, the Misamis Occidental-based squad ran away in the fourth period to decimate JPS, 95-69.
Clarin went on a huge 34-7 fourth period blast there, which Zamboanga head coach Tony Pardo saw as a positive.
“The last time we played, third quarter abante pa kami sa kanila. Nag collapse lang kami pero ngayon we’re more ready. Kahit close game, ang importante naman ‘yung W diba?” said the brains behind JPS.
He also pointed out that playoffs are a whole different animal.
The elimination round win-loss records don’t matter anymore. The field is reset and is back to 0-0, to which Borilla agreed.
“Tama ‘yung sinabi ni Coach Tony. Wala na ‘yung elimination, focus na kami sa playoffs one game at a tim e,” said Clarin’s youthful tactician.
Meanwhile, third seed home team Pagadian will open the festivities at 4 pm, going up against fourth-ranked Petra Cement-Roxas
The Explorers won their lone matchup in the tournament, 82-80, thanks to a game-winner by homegrown player Von Dechos in overtime.
With that game going the distance, Pagadian head coach Harold Sta. Cruz knows what they are against.
“Ang Roxas talagang babalik ‘yan kasi more experienced ang players nila. Sa practice kahapon kaunting shooting lang kami tapos more on game plan na,” said Sta. Cruz.
The Vanguards will also have additional reinforcement in the return of Chito Jaime, who missed his team’s last three games as he was called up by Rain or Shine 3×3 in the PBA.
The 37-year-old veteran will be a game-time decision in Game One, but head coach Eddie Laure confirmed he is back with the team.
Games will now be daily until the end of the finals.
(Pagadian City Gymnasium, Pagadian, Zamboanga del Sur)
4 p.m.– Pagadian vs Roxas
6 p.m.– Clarin vs Zamboanga City