Game On Sunday(Smart Araneta Coliseum)12 p.m. – Marinerong Pilipino vs. EcoOil-La Salle
ECOOIL-LA SALLE and Marinerong Pilipino set up a gigantic championship showdown, knocking off Adalem Construction-St. Clare and Apex Fuel-San Sebastian in the do-or-die Game 3 of the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) D-League Aspirants’ Cup semifinals on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The Green Archers drubbed the Saints, 97-74, while the Skippers hung on to a 69-64 win over the top-seeded Golden Stags to remain as the last two teams standing in D-League’s return from a two-year hiatus.
La Salle and Marinero begin their best-of-three clash for the Aspirants’ Cup diadem on Sunday at the same venue.
CJ Austria uncorked 26 points, Kevin Quiambao added 16 while Michael Phillips had an all-around line of 14 markers, 13 boards, six assists, four steals and five blocks to banner La Salle’s convincing 23-point victory.
“I’m really happy and satisfied with the way we played. The boys just played really hard and the things we were supposed to do last time around, we did it right today,” said coach Derrick Pumaren as La Salle absorbed a 72-64 Game 2 win to allow a rubber match.
The story, however, was different for the Skippers as they needed Juan Gomez de Liaño’s heroics down the stretch to hold off the No. 1 San Sebastian.
Mr. De Liaño, the former Japan B.League import, scored eight of his 23 points in the last three minutes, including the game-sealing lay-up in the last 52 seconds.
He added eight rebounds and six assists while AC Soberano (14) and Jollo Go (11) cashed in help for the Skippers, who booked a D-League finals return trip after a runner-up finish in 2019 before the pandemic.
“It was really all about our team mindset. We just had the right mindset coming into this do-or-die game,” said Mr. De Liaño, also a Gilas Pilipinas stalwart.
John Edcel Rojas (17) paced St. Clare while Romel Calahat had 19 for San Sebastian as both teams failed to ride on the momentum of their Game 2 victories. — John Bryan Ulanday
EcoOil-La Salle 97 — Austria 26, Quiambao 16, M. Phillips 14, Nelle 7, Winston 7, Escandor 7, Nwankwo 5, Buensalida 4, Estacio 3, Blanco 3, Cortez 3, B. Phillips 2, Manuel 0.
Adalem-St. Clare 74 — Rojas 17, Fontanilla 16, Sablan 12, Estrada 10, Ndong 8, Estacio 4, Sumagaysay 4, Galang 3, Lopez 0, Gamboa 0, Manacho 0.
Quarterscores: 22-20, 52-40, 78-54, 97-74.
Marinerong Pilipino 69 — Gomez de Liaño 23, Soberano 14, Go 11, Bonifacio 7, Carino 6, Nocum 4, Gamboa 3, Manlangit 1, Pido 0, Bonsubre 0, Agustin 0.
Apex Fuel-San Sebastian 64 — Calahat 19, Sumoda 15, Villapando 12, Desoyo 6, Felebrico 6, Altamirano 3, Escobido 3, Are 0, Yambing 0, Shanoda 0, Cosari 0, Una 0.
Quarterscores: 7-11, 25-26, 44-43, 69-64.