April 25, 2024

EcoOil-La Salle pulls away past Go Torakku-St. Clare in Game 1

Defending champion EcoOil-La Salle pulled away in the second half for an 85-65 rout of Go Torakku-St. Clare and took a headstart in the 2024 PBA D-League Aspirants' Cup semifinals on Thursday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.

After a slow start, the unbeaten Green Archers went on 34-13 barrage in the third period to rip the game wide open and zero in for a third straight finals appearance.

EcoOIl-La Salle, goes for the kill against the Saints on Tuesday also at the Pasig hoop house.

"Actually, ito 'yung diniscuss namin sa pre-game. We have to respect St. Clare as they're capable of playing that way. Even at halftime, 'yun pa rin ang sinasabi ko," said La Salle assistant coach Gian Nazario after the match.

"Without Jonnel Policarpio (stomach) and EJ Gollena (hamstring), we needed more players to step up and they did."

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Michael Phillips collared a near double-double of 17 points and nine rebounds laced by six steals and two blocks to headline the Green Archers' onslaught.

Nigerian big man Henry Agunanne flaunted his sweet touch with two triples for 14 points, nine rebounds and two blocks while Joshua David and CJ Austria chipped in 12 and 11 points, respectively.

La Salle appeared to develop some rust after a week-long break and it showed in the early goings as they played catch up for most past of the first half.

But it didn't take long for the Green Archers to rediscover game, closing the half on a 16-5 run punctuated by Austria's three-point shot from the other end of the court at the buzzer that gave EcoOil-La Salle a 36-34 edge at the turn.

It was all La Salle from there on that saw the two-time champions led by as many as 25 points.

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JM Estacio, Ryan Sual and Megan Galang had 12, 11 and 10 points, respectively, to show the way for the Saints. (JBU)

The Scores:

EcoOil-La Salle 85 - Phillips 17, Agunanne 14, David 12, Austria 11, Macalalag 8, Rubico 8, Abadam 6, Cortez 5, Gaspay 3, Alian 1, Romero 0.

Go Torakku-St. Clare - 65 - Estacio 12, Sual 11, Galang 10, Decano 6, Cabauatan 6, Burgos 5, Ndong 5, De Guzman 4, Acosta 3, Tapenio 2, Russel 1, Balacaoac 0.

Quarterscores: 11-13, 36-34, 70-47, 85-65.