Cignal HD may be the second seed, but in the eyes of coach Boyet Fernandez, his Hawkeyes are the underdogs against Marinerong Pilipino coming into the 2017 PBA D-League Foundation Cup semifinals.
“We lost to Marinero twice already, in our practice game as well as in our game in the eliminations, so they are in the advantage, and we’re the underdog,” he said.
The Hawkeyes lost to Skippers 66-65 on June 8. Since then, Marinerong Pilipino has beefed up its roster with Robbie Herndon, Renzo Subido, and Jun Gabriel en route to becoming the hottest team right now.
“They are coming off seven straight wins. I give credit to Marinero because they really stepped up their game before the end of the eliminations. Their confidence is really high,” the seasoned mentor noted. “They hired Herndon who has been playing well. Subido brings energy to them and he really stepped up his game. It will be a different team that we’re facing in the semifinals so it will be a tough match-up for us.”
Fernandez is looking at this best-of-three series as his players’ chance to show their championship swagger starting on Thursday for Game 1.
“If you look at it, we’re the underdog. But it’s no excuse. We just have to face Marinero and hopefully we’ll make it through,” he said. “We’ll find a way to win and it will be a very exciting game. We’ll just have to enjoy that.”
Fernandez looks to parade Raymar Jose for the last time before the hardworking bruiser leaves with Gilas Pilipinas for the 2017 Southeast Asian Games.
“Anything that Raymar can give us on Thursday, we’ll really appreciate it,” he said.
Jose will carry the mantle for Cignal together with fellow leaders Jason Perkins and Pamboy Raymundo.