EcoOil-La Salle pulled away in the second half to take down Adalem Construction-St.Clare, 89-74, to move on cusp of a trip to the Finals in the PBA D-League 2022 Aspirants’ Cup on Friday, Aug. 12 at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
An 8-1 spurt to break a 52-all deadlock late in the third frame gave the Green Archers a seven-point buffer heading into the payoff period before another 11-2 rally completely took the fight out the Saints allowing La Salle to draw first blood in the best-of-three semifinals series.
Deschon Winston displayed his scoring prowess with 24 points on 50-percent clip from the field while Gilas Pilipinas standout Kevin Quiambao dazzled with 18 points, six rebounds and four blocks.
Mark Nonoy and CJ Austria provided support with 15 points apiece.
The Saints managed to keep in step with the Green Archers in the first half even taking a 23-18 lead at the end of the opening frame. St.Clare however suffered a series of droughts in the second frame as La Salle found their mark on the other end to seize control of the game at the break, 41-36.
The game saw a back-and-forth affair from that point as John Rojas carried the fight for the Saints dropping nine of his 19 points in the third quarter only to go for naught as the Archers went for the telling blow.
Johnsherick Estrada was the other double-digit scorer with 14 points for St. Clare which will be battling for its tournament lives in Game 2 on Sunday.