ECOOIL-LA SALLE seized the PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup crown, coasting to a 91-78 win over Marinerong Pilipino in the winner-take-all Game 3 yesterday at the Smart-Araneta Coliseum.
Four players hit twin digits led by Schonny Winston with 16 points, five rebounds, five assists and three steals as the Green Archers pulled off a reverse sweep after a 72-67 loss in Game 1.
Mark Nonoy also came through with 15 markers on three triples for his biggest game of the season as MVP runner-up Michael Phillips carved out 15 points and 16 boards with eight coming from the offensive glass.
Evan Nelle then added a 13-5-5 line for La Salle, which rode on the momentum of a huge 70-63 win in Game 2 to capture its first title in the developmental ranks.
“As I’ve told the team, we have to show that we want it more and the boys did. We’re proud of how the guys played. We had momentum and we had to use that to our advantage. The boys responded and took advantage of that,” said coach Derrick Pumaren.
With momentum on its side, La Salle broke the gates wide open at 21-9 before erecting a 51-36 cushion at the break. The Green Archers even led by as many as 21 points, 74-53.
But the Skippers, bannered by MVP Juan Gomez De Liaño, as expected waged a heavy resistance with a 17-5 salvo to strike within 70-79 in the last four minutes before the Green Archers’ steady finish to take it home.
“This is part of the program, this is part of the process for us so if we’re gonna bring our A-game, we got to bring it in this game. We did,” added Mr. Pumaren, who will now shift his focus to La Salle’s final build-up for the UAAP Season 85 in October.
Mr. De Liaño put up a fight for Marinero with 30 points but his backcourt duo Jollo Go bled for only two after an ejection in the second half due to a low blow on La Salle big man Ben Phillips.
The Skippers thus settled for a bridesmaid finish anew after sweeping the 2019 Foundation Cup only to bow against BRT Sumisip Basilan–St. Clare in another winner-take-all Game 3.
EcoOil-La Salle 91 — Winston 16, M. Phillips 15, Nonoy 15, Nelle 13, Austria 8, Manuel 7, Quiambao 6, Nwankwo 6, B. Phillips 5, Macalalag 0.
Marinerong Pilipino 78 — Gomez de Liaño 30, Nocum 18, Gamboa 12, Soberano 7, Manlangit 5, Carino 2, Go 2, Pido 2, Bonifacio 0, Bonsubre 0, Agustin 0.
Quarterscores: 25-19, 51-36, 74-57, 91-78. — John Bryan Ulanday