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De La Salle University guns for finals of PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup and FilOil EcoOil Preseason Cup

Games Today
2 p.m. —  Perpetual vs. National U (battle for 3rd)
3:45 p.m. — Mapua’s Khem Sabsalon vs. EAC’s Ruzzel Dominguez (Hanes 1-on-1 King of the Hardcourt finals)
4 p.m. — La Salle vs. UP (finals)

DE LA SALLE University will juggle double duties in two days when it vies in the finals of the both the PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup and Filoil EcoOil Preseason Cup against different opponents.

EcoOil-De La Salle, the reigning champion, lock horns with Marinerong Pilipino-San Beda tomorrow for the start of the D-League Aspirants’ Cup best-of-three finale at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig. Today (June 21), it’s up against the University of the Philippines (UP) in the one-game Filoil championship at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.

As tough and challenging the stretch is, it’s a good problem and an even better opportunity for the Taft-based school in the long run with hopes of unearthing full potential under new head coach Topex Robinson.

“Right now, our focus is on ourselves. Our focus is to see where we are now as a team and how we can still improve,” assistant coach Gian Nazario said in yesterday’s Philippine Sports Association (PSA) Forum featuring the D-League finalists at Rizal Memorial Sports Complex.

“It’s a chance for us to perform better, to focus and be able to adapt. Our goal is to gel together.”

Mr. Robinson, who replaced seasoned mentor Derrick Pumaren, is handling De La Salle in Filoil against collegiate squads while Mr. Nazario has been steering the team in the D-League made up of club and school-based teams.

“We’ll take it one game at a time. We have to deal with it. Whatever the result, we have to turn the page and focus on what’s next,” added Mr. Nazario, reiterating that De La Salle’s ultimate goal is the UAAP Season 86 in September.

De La Salle has been unbeaten in 11 games in the Filoil while being scarred by a lone loss in the D-League against San Beda University, which vowed to give the title holder a run for its own money.

“We have an underdog mentality against De La Salle. But there’s also the winning culture of San Beda. We’re always looking to win,” said former player-turned-assistant-coach Ralph Penuela in lieu of head coach Yuri Escueta. — John Bryan Ulanday

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