D-League semifinals series gets going

BOYET FERNANDEZ has not lost a game in the semifinals back in his days as coach of the NLEX Road Warriors.

Now the bench tactician of Cignal, Fernandez looks to keep his record unscathed as the Hawkeyes face off against the Tanduay Rhum Masters in Game One of their semifinal series in the Philippine Basketball Association Developmental League Aspirants’ Cup.

After a shocking loss to start their campaign, the Hawkeyes won their remaining eight games in the in the eliminations and they hope to build on it heading to the best-of-three series.

But no less than Fernandez, who steered NLEX to six championships during its stint in the league, was quick to caution that streaks don’t mean anything at this level of the tournament.

“It doesn’t count anymore [streak]. This is a new level so we should take care of thing on game-to-game basis,” offered Fernandez, who urged his troop to consider Game One as a do-or-die game.

“Tanduay is a tough match-up for us so we have to be really ready for them,” he added.

The Cignal-Tanduay encounter is set at 5 p.m. at the Marikina Sports complex. It follows the other semifinal between Cafe France and Racal at 3 o’clock.

Tanduay coach Lawrence Chongson said he welcomes the challenge by a Cignal side that is counting on Jason Perkins, Robert Bolick and Javee Mocon.

“Now doubt that we are the underdog. But we know we have everything to gain and nothing to lose,” Chongson said.

“Teams have to find their own niche. It’s the luxury of school-based teams to have chemistry so I have to find mine. I think we found a way and we thought that going with the ex-pros is the way to go,” added Chongson, who assembled his squad around ex-pros Mark Cruz, Jerwin Gaco, Lester Alvarez and Denice Villamor.