MANILA, Philippines – The GlobalPort Batang Pier will barely have a chance to celebrate their thrilling victory over the Alaska Aces in the 2017 PBA Commissioner's Cup, as they have only one day to prepare for their quarterfinals duel against the top-seeded Barangay Ginebra Gin Kings.
The Batang Pier leaned on Terrence Romeo's crunch time heroics to turn back the Aces, 107-106, and set up a quarterfinals match-up against the twice-to-beat Gin Kings on Tuesday.
"It's going to be a tough series for us," Pumaren acknowledged. (We have) just a one-day break, and we're playing the No. 1 team, the best team, the team that's on a streak."
"Hopefully, we can sustain the run," he added.
GlobalPort enters the quarterfinals having won three of their last four games, but Ginebra carries a four-game winning run that includes crucial victories over San Miguel and Meralco. The Gin Kings also routed the Batang Pier, 113-96, when they met in the elimination round.
Pumaren knows that the odds are not exactly in their favor.
"I think Ginebra is really peaking right," he said. "Their team has been there for the longest time, while we're still in the process of trying to feel each other. Hopefully, we can match up."
"We just got the schedule, and we only have one day rest, one day preparation. Last Friday, we just played a hard game also (against San Miguel), then had one day rest. Hopefully, we can pull it through," he added.
Playing their third game in five days, Pumaren hopes that momentum and rhythm will be on their side, and that fatigue will not rear its head for the Batang Pier.
No matter the result of their quarterfinals game, however, Pumaren already believes that the Batang Pier have surpassed expectations in the Commissioner's Cup.
"I guess we surprised a lot of people. No one imagined us to be in this situation, that we'll be playing in the quarterfinals. Just last month I think most of the basketball fans, they were thinking that we were ready to fold up and go on an early vacation," he said.
"I guess today's game is a testament that the boys, they don't want to go on a break yet," added Pumaren, whose team opened the conference with three straight losses before mounting a strong finishing kick to barge into the playoffs.
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