PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup semifinals: Apex Fuel and Adalem force deciding Game 3


Games On Wednesday(Smart Araneta Coliseum)9 a.m. – Marinerong Pilipinovs. Apex Fuel-San Sebastian11 a.m. – EcoOil-La Sallevs. Adalem Construction-St. Clare

TOP-SEEDED Apex Fuel-San Sebastian and Adalem Construction-St.Clare refused to ride into the night without a fight, scraping past their separate counterparts to force a deciding Game 3 in the 2022 Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) D-League Aspirants’ Cup semifinals on Sunday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

On the brink of elimination, the Golden Stags hacked out an 82-74 win over Marinerong Pilipino while the Saints took down the Green Archers, 72-64, in Game 2 of their best-of-three Final Four duels.

The four squads go at it once more on Wednesday with the rightful winners arranging a battle for all the D-League marbles in another race-to-two salvo.

Both San Sebastian and St. Clare bowed in the series opener but made sure to stay alive behind a bevy of heroes led by the dazzling backcourt duo of Johnsherick Estrada and Joshua Fontanilla for the Saints.

Mr. Estrada, the NAASCU MVP, collected 22 points including 11 in the payoff period on top of six rebounds, three assists, two blocks and one steal while Mr. Fontanilla added 21 markers.

San Sebastian, meanwhile, leaned on a balanced attack as five cagers put up twin digits led by Romel Calahat’s 15-10 double-double to avenge its 74-66 defeat in the series opener.

Jessie Sumoda (14), Ichie Altamirano (13), Rafael Are (10) and Alex Desoyo (10) provided coverage for the Golden Stags, who flipped a 68-71 deficit in the last two minutes en route to the big do-or-die win.

Ben Phillips (15) and Jollo Go (28) had their efforts wasted in the foiled clincher of the Green Archers and the Skippers, respectively. — John Bryan Ulanday

The Scores:

First Game:

Adalem-St. Clare 72 — Estrada 22, Fontanilla 21, Rojas 9, Estacio 6, Sablan 5, Galang 5, Ndong 2, Lopez 2, Gamboa 0, Sumagaysay 0, Manacho 0.

EcoOil-La Salle 64 — B. Phillips 15, Quiambao 9, Nelle 8, M. Phillips 8, Nwankwo 8, Austria 6, Winston 5, Escandor 3, Estacio 2, Blanco 0.

Quarterscores: 14-19, 34-29, 51-52, 72-64.

Second Game:

Apex Fuel-San Sebastian 82 — Calahat 15, Sumoda 14, Altamirano 13, Desoyo 10, Are 10, Felebrico 8, Villapando 6, Escobido 4, Yambing 2, Cosari 0, Shanoda 0, Suico 0, Garcia 0.

Marinerong Pilipino 74 — Go 28, Gomez de Liaño 11, Nocum 10, Agustin 9, Gamboa 7, Carino 4, Manlangit 3, Pido 2, Bonifacio 0, Soberano 0, Bonsubre 0, Garcia 0.

Quarterscores: 16-11, 35-34, 60-58, 82-74.