Adalem staves off Builders, 90-87, in KO quarter match to face EcoOil in semis


Games Tomorrow(Smart Araneta Coliseum)9 a.m. – Marinerong Pilipino vs. Apex Fuel-San Sebastian11 a.m. – EcoOil-La Salle vs. Adalem Construction-St. Clare

ADALEM Construction-St. Clare marched on to the semifinals of the 2022 Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) D-League Aspirants’ Cup, staving off a gritty Builders Warehouse-University of Santo Tomas (UST) challenge with a slim 90-87 win in the knockout (KO) quarterfinals duel on Wednesday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

NAASCU MVP Johnsherick Estrada turned in 20 markers, five rebounds and three assists as the third-seeded and twice-to-beat Saints got the job done in the last try after a tough loss in Game 1.

Jolo Sumagaysay added 14 while Joshua Fontanilla, John Rojas, and Gab Gamboa chipped in 12 for St. Clare, which arranged best-of-three semis duel with No. 2 EcoOil-La Salle.

“Hats off to UST. I know they will play hard and they know how to win already. Kami naman, we just told our players that we have to perform this time,” said coach Jinino Manansala.

Motivated by a 98-93 loss in Game 1, the Saints took control of the match and erected what appeared to be a deciding 82-70 cushion in the last four minutes.

But as they’ve shown resiliency all-season long marked by a four-game winning spree until the quarters, the Growling Tigers fought back and struck within 90-87 in the last 17 seconds behind incoming rookie Kean Baclaan’s layup.

Santo Tomas then forced a five-second inbound violation for a chance to send it to extra time, but Mr. Baclaan muffed his long heave at the buzzer.

Mr. Baclaan, who dropped 35 points in Game 1 stunner, had 17 while Nic Cabañero unloaded 19 in a losing cause for Santo Tomas that exited in style after making the playoffs from a 0-4 start.

The Scores:

Adalem-St. Clare 90 — Estrada 20, Sumagaysay 14, Fontanilla 12, Gamboa 12, Rojas 12, Ndong 10, Lopez 6, Sablan 4, Estacio 0.

Builders Warehouse-UST 87 — Cabanero 19, Baclaan 17, Concepcion 15, M. Pangilinan 13, Santos 12, Mantua 5, Manalang 4, Manaytay 2, Crisostomo 0, Herrera 0.

Quarterscores: 24-14, 37-35, 59-57, 90-87. — John Bryan Ulanday