[b]MANILA, Philippines - Top seed ML Kwarta Padala-Cebu tries to complete the semis cast in the Tournament of the Philippines (TOP) when it battles Manny Pacquiao’s MP Gensan today at the New Cebu Coliseum in Cebu City.
Aside from having the deepest bench and perhaps the most experienced players in the tournament, the Niños are also armed with a twice-to-beat advantage over the eight-seeded Warriors for making it to the top four after the nine-leg elimination series.
A win by the Niños in their 6 p.m. showdown will enable the multi-titled squad to join Treston-Laguna, Ascof Lagundi and Misamis Oriental in the next phase of the tournament jointly organized by the Philippine Basketball League and Liga Pilipinas.
The winner in the Cebu-Gensan series battles Laguna in the semis, which will be a best-of-three affair. Clashing in the other semis pair are Ascof Lagundi and Misamis Oriental.
For the Warriors to advance to the next round, they have to summon the same amount of energy to repeat over the Niños.
Though they posted only seven win in 16 games, it was the Warriors who posted the biggest reversal in the tournament when they beat the Niños, 79-74, last July 2.
The defeat ended Cebu’s 30-game winning run that started in the previous conference of the Liga Pilipinas last year, which it ruled by sweeping all its 21 games.
One thing going for the Niños is the addition of veteran Froilan Baguion, who is expected to boost the team’s backcourt rotation.
Aside from Baguion, the team also boasts of veterans Stephen Padilla, Warren Ybanez and Bruce Dacia.