Blackwater Sports tries to boost its bid for an outright semis berth when it takes on Cebuana Lhuillier today in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup at the Trinity University gym in Quezon City.
A win over the Gems in their 4 p.m. showdown will enable the Elite to solidify their hold of second place as Cagayan and Big Chill are threatening to overtake them.
Mentored by former PBA star Leo Isaac, the Elite are sporting a second-best 5-2 mark while Cagayan and Big Chill are tied for third to fourth places with similar 5-3 records.
Three-peat seeking NLEX leads the standings with a 9-1 mark.
In the 2 p.m. first game, Fruitas eyes its third consecutive win and a chance to create a three-way tie for third to fifth against an inspired Jose Rizal University squad.
Through the superb plays of point guard Jeric Fortuna, Blackwater closed out the year that passed with an 81-60 rout of CafeFrance on Dec. 20.
After a two-week holiday break, the team owned by Dioseldo Sy returned to practice and is now eager to resume its drive against the Gems.
Leading Blackwater are Fortuna, Kevin Ferrer, Karim Abdul, Gio Ciriacruz and Pari Llagas.
Cebuana Lhuillier is tied for seventh spot with JRU at 3-4 and an upset would boost its chances of making the quarterfinals.
"I expect their [Gems] usual physical game and we are prepared for it. I also like our chances of solidifying our hold of second place," said Isaac.
Fruitas improved to 4-3 after last week's 89-76 rout of winless Informatics at the JCSGO gym in Cubao.