Gomez Juan Gomez de Liaño of Marinerong Pilipino: Conference MVP. PBA photo

Do or die for Marinero, La Salle

August 25, 2022 Theodore P. Jurado 202 views

ECOOIL-La Salle frustrated Marinerong Pilipino’s bid to achieve a breakthrough PBA D-League championship, sending the Aspirants’ Cup Finals to a deciding Game 3 following a 70-63 win yesterday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Green Archers unleashed a scorching start but needed one last stand in the crunch to hold off the Skippers’ fightback attempt, leveling the best-of-three series to one game apiece.

The winner-take-all showdown is set on Wednesday next week at the Big Dome.

Marinerong Pilipino’s loss spoiled Juan Gomez de Liaño’s coronation as the conference MVP.

Mike Phillips led EcoOil-La Salle’s revenge after a series-opening 67-72 loss, produciing a double-double outing of 18 points and 14 rebounds and swatted away four attempts.

Schonny Winston added 15 points, three assists and two steals, while CJ Austria had 11 points, five rebounds, three assists and two steals for the Green Archers, who had no signs of fatigue despite playing in another off-season tournament Tuesday night.

“We just caught them napping at the start. We came out strong. I know we’re tired as we’re playing almost every day but it’s the mindset for us,” said EcoOil-La Salle coach Derrick Pumaren.

“We just came out ready and we played our game unlike in the first game where we played tentative,” he added.

The Green Archers raced to an 18-8 lead and were still comfortably ahead at 51-41 following Bright Nwankwo’s thunderous dunk when the Skippers came back and uncorked a 21-12 exchange capped by a Gomez de Liaño’s booming triple to move to within a point, 62-63, with 1:21 remaining.

Evan Nelle then nailed three free throws off Kemark Cariño’s foul followed by Kevin Quiambao’s fadeaway jumper in the final 27 seconds gave EcoOil-La Salle the needed separation.

“I’m proud of the way the boys kept their pressure. We were playing not to lose but we’re able to correct that and make big mistakes,” said Pumaren, a two-time PBA and UAAP champion who is eyeing his first D-League title to add to his vast collection.

Jollo Go paced Marinerong Pilipino with 21 points while Gomez de Liaño contributed 14 points, four assists and four boards.

The scores:

EcoOil-DLSU (70) — M. Phillips 18, Winston 15, Austria 11, Nelle 8, Nwankwo 7, Quiambao 6, Manuel 5, B. Phillips 0, Nonoy 0.
Marinero (63) — Go 21, Gomez de Liaño 14, Cariño 14, Pido 5, Soberano 3, Nocum 2, Manlangit 2, Agustin 2, Gamboa 0, Bonifacio 0, Hernandez 0, Bonsubre 0, Lacap 0, Garcia 0.
Quarterscores: 20-10, 34-26, 49-41, 70-63.

Game Wednesday

(Smart Araneta Coliseum)
12 noon – Marinero vs EcoOil-DLSU