MARINERONG Pilipino and EcoOil-La Salle bested separate foes to move closer in arranging a championship showdown in the PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Juan Gomez de Liaño came through with 16 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists as the Skippers also grabbed the semis opener with a wire-to-wire 74-66 victory over top-ranked Apex Fuel-San Sebastian.
Schonny Winston debuted with 24 points while Kevin Quiambao was solid in the middle with 18 points, six rebounds, four blocks and three assists as the Green Archers pulled away late in the third period to repulse Adalem Construction-St. Clare, 89-74.
Marinerong Pilipino and EcoOil-La Salle hope to get the job done in Game 2s slated tomorrow at the Big Dome.
The No. 4 Skippers may have beaten the Stags twice in the conference, but coach Yong Garcia wanted his troops to elevate their game further in the potential semis clincher.
“We are happy sa mga players dahil na-execute ng maayos ang gameplan namin,” said Garcia. “Game 1 pa lang ito and hopefully yung Game 2, magawa uli ng tama yung gameplan namin.”
Still looking for its elusive first title in the D-League, Marinerong Pilipino made it to the Finals in the 2019 Foundation Cup but fell short.
The second-ranked Green Archers were level with the No. 3 Saints at 52-52 at the 2:09 mark of the third quarter when Winston and Quiambao conspired their team’s 26-5 run for a 78-57 advantage midway in the payoff period.
“I don’t think we really had a good game. We still made a lot of mistakes but we just made that run in the end when the game was tied at 52. During that stretch was probably one of the best games defensively against St. Clare,” said EcoOil-La Salle mentor Derrick Pumaren.
“It is still a learning process for us. We are here to learn coming to the UAAP,” he added.
Arvin Gamboa was also big for the Skippers with 15 points, five rebounds, two assists and two steals, Jollo Go added 14 points, four assists and two steals while Rence Nocum had 12 points, seven boards and two assists.
Apex Fuel-San Sebastian missed James Una for the second straight game due to ankle injury.
Ichie Altamirano led the Stags with 12 points, five rebounds and two steals while Ken Villapando and Tristan Felebrico each scored 11 markers.
Mark Nonoy, in his first D-League game for the Green Archers, had 15 points, six steals and two assists while CJ Austria also scored 15 markers.
Evan Nelle, who was also activated by EcoOil-La Salle in the semis, only had four points but recorded a team-high seven assists, to go with three boards and two steals.
Rojas had 19 points while Jonhsherick Estrada contributed 14 points, seven rebounds and four assists for the Saints, the last squad to enter the Final Four.
Marinero (74) — Gomez de Liaño 16, Gamboa 15, Go 14, Nocum 12, Soberano 7, Cariño 6, Bonifacio 2, Manlangit 2, Bonsubre 0, Pido 0.
Apex Fuel-SSC-R (66) — Altamirano 12, Villapando 11, Felebrico 11, Sumoda 8, Calahat 7, Desoyo 7, Escobido 4, Shanoda 4, Are 2, Suico 0, Yambing 0, Garcia 0.
Quarterscores: 21-8, 39-31, 59-46, 74-66
EcoOil-DLSU (89) — Winston 24, Quiambao 18, Austria 15, Nonoy 15, Nelle 4, Nwankwo 4, B. Phillips 4, Cortez 3, M. Phillips 2, Escandor 0, Blanco 0, Buensalida 0, Estacio 0.
Adalem-St. Clare (74) — Rojas 19, Estrada 14, Manacho 8, Gamboa 7, Tapenio 6, Estacio 5, Ndong 4, Sablan 3, Sumagaysay 3, Galang 3, Fontanilla 2, Lopez 0, Decano 0.
Quarterscores: 18-23, 41-36, 60-53, 89-74.