PAGADIAN, ZAMBOANGA DEL SUR—The twice-to-beat Pagadian Explorers aim to protect home court when they open the 2021 Chooks-to-Go Pilipinas VisMin Super Cup Mindanao Leg quarterfinals, Thursday against eighth seed Kapatagan, which is looking to extend the series to an all-or-nothing rubber match at 4 p.m.
Explorers head coach Harold Sta. Cruz expects his wards to go all out, especially with Pagadianons supporting them via social media, and a LED screen right outside the gymnasium, where the games were always streamed live.
“Playoffs na ito. Kahit na may twice-to-beat advantage kami hindi namin iisipin ‘yun kasi ang Kapatagan anytime puwedeng pumutok ‘yan kaya dodoblehin namin ang effort namin,” said Sta. Cruz.
“Grabe ka-motivated ‘yung mga bata dahil sa suporta ng mga Pagadianon kaya itong mga players naglalaro talaga para sa kanila. Ibinubuhos nila ang lahat para sa Pagadian City,” the youthful tactician continued.
In their lone matchup prior to the playoffs last July 17, Pagadian blasted the Buffalo Braves, 95-67.
Meanwhile, two Zamboanga teams will cap the double-header at 6 pm.
Fifth-ranked JPS Zamboanga City, armed with a twice-to-beat advantage, will battle ALZA Alayon Zamboanga del Sur with a semifinals ticket at stake.
JPS barely escaped ALZA Alayon in their matchup in the elimination round, 82-79.
Playing the heroes then were trio of guards Rudy Lingganay, Aaron Jeruta, and Fran Yu.
Yu finished with 16 points, five assists, four rebounds, and four steals; Jeruta tallied 17 points, five rebounds, and five assists; while Lingganay had 16 points, five rebounds, and five assists.
Petra Cement-Roxas gets a free pass to the first phase of the semis as seventh place MisOr pulled out of the league due to numerous injuries incurred throughout the tilt.
The Vanguards await the winner of the Pagadian-Kapatagan matchup.
Pagadian City Gymnasium, Pagadian, Zamboanga del Sur
4PM - #3 Pagadian (twice-to-beat) vs #8 Kapatagan
6PM - #5 Zamboanga City (twice-to-beat) vs #6 Zamboanga del Sur