MANILA - The Philippine Patriots expressed confidence they can overcome the challenge of the Kuala Lumpur Dragons when they meet this Sunday in Game 1 of the best-of-three semifinal in the 1st Asean Basketball League at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.

However, Patriots co-team owner Mikee Romero cautioned his players against taking the Dragons lightly, saying they are equally determined to reach the finals.

“We have to take them seriously since the Dragons are on a roll,” said the CEO and president of Harbour Centre. “We have to raise our level of game several notches, especially on defense.”

Import Gave Freeman is expected to lead the Patriots’ charge against the Dragons, who won their last three matches.

The Dragons will be led by Filipino imports--Rudy Lingganay and Rhoel Hugnatan—The two were instrumental in the Dragons’ triumph over the Patriots, 77-59, three weeks ago. That win gave the Dragons the No. 4 spot.

In that game, Lingganay and Hugnatan combined for 27 points to improve their record to 7-8 at the end of the elimination round.