Wangs-Letran weathered a huge fourth-quarter storm from Adalem-St.Clare to come away with a 94-87 victory in the PBA D League Aspirants’ Cup opener on Thursday, July 7 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
King Caralipio drilled a booming triple with 47 seconds left to help the Knights survive a searing fourth-quarter rally from the Saints who battled from 23 points down and notch their first win in the tournament.
Missing the Knights’ top guns in NCAA MVP Rhenz Abando and Fran Yu, Louie Sangalang picked up the slack with a double-double of 21 points and 11 rebounds while getting ample support from Wangs-Letran supporting casts led by the 17 points of Kobe Monje who came off the bench.
Wangs-Letran started the second quarter like a house on fire as it unleashed a huge 14-0 run that turned a 29-20 lead into a 43-20 advantage late in the first half.
Adalem-St.Clare though refused to go down without a fight as it regained foothold in the second half thanks to the duo of John Rojas and and Johnsherick Estrada who provided the one-two punch for the Saints with 25 and 22 points respectively.
Wangs-Letran managed to protect the double-digit spread midway through payoff period before Adalem-St.Clare went on a fiery 16-2 run capped by the back-to-back triples from Jolo Sumagaysay to pull the Saints within three, 88-85, with 57 seconds left.
The Knights, however, showed poise towards the end game as Caralipio nailed the dagger trey before banking on their defense in the waning minutes to complete the great escape.
Wangs-Letran 94 – Sangalang 21, Monje 17, Oivario 12, Caralipio 12, Paraiso 12, Javillonar 6, Tolentino 6, Guarino 6, Bataller 2, Lantaya 0, Ariar 0, Go 0, Aviso 0
Adalem-St. Clare 87 – Rojas 25, Estrada 22, Sumagaysay 19, Sablan 7, Estacio 5, Tapenio 5, Gamboa 4, Lopez 0, Manacho 0, Victoriano 0, Acosta 0, Decano 0, Balacaoc 0, Ndong 0
Quarters: 29-20, 51-38, 72-65, 94-87