Adalem, Marinero eye Final Four slots against separate foes

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ARMED with twice-to-beat incentives, higher-ranked squads Adalem Construction-St. Clare and Marinerong Pilipino shoot for quick Final Four passages against separate counterparts in the PBA D-League Aspirants quarterfinals at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The third-seeded Saints take on No. 6 Builders Warehouse at 11 a.m. after the 9 a.m. collision of No. 4 Skippers and No. 5 Centro Escolar University.

A win would push both squads straight into the semifinals, where No. 1 Apex Fuel-San Sebastian and second-running EcoOil-La Salle are already waiting after similar 5-2 cards in the elimination round.

The mission for St. Clare and Marinero, however, will not be a walk in the park especially against capable squads that have made late runs into the playoffs.

Santo Tomas, for its part, strung three straight victories after a 0-4 start including a huge upset of NCAA champion Letran in the virtual knockout match for the last and sixth playoff spot.

That alone should be enough reason for St. Clare to not lower its guard despite a win-once bonus.

Marinero mentor Yong Garcia echoes caution as his wards go up against the Scorpions, who dealt them an 84-77 defeat in their elims meeting. — John Bryan Ulanday