ECOOIL-La Salle thumped AMA Online, 92-49, and secured the No. 2 seed plus an automatic spot in the semifinals of the 2022 PBA D-League Aspirants' Cup Tuesday at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
Raven Cortez rose to the occasion with 21 points and 12 rebounds as the Green Archers hardly missed the services of their numerous vital cogs led by Gilas Pilipinas Kevin Quiambao in the 43-point trashing of AMA.
Aaron Buensalida, Benjamin Phillips and Isaiah Blanco backstopped him with 12, 11, and 10 markers, respectively, for La Salle that finished at 5-2 just behind top-seed Apex Fuel-San Sebastian (5-2).
Both teams gained free passages in the Final Four while awaiting the winners of the quarterfinals featuring Adalem Construction-St. Clare, Marinerong Pilipino, CEU and Builders Warehouse-UST.
"We wanted to be in the No. 2 spot so naka-importante nito sa amin kasi we go to the semis right away," said assistant coach Gabby Velasco, who spoke in lieu of chief tactician Derrick Pumaren.
With the semis berth within its reach, EcoOil-La Salle did not disappoint by breaking the game wide open early with a 19-6 start.
By the break, the Green Archers were miles away at 46-19 built on a suffocating defense until leading by as many as 44 points for the big win.
John Cris Yambao was the only bright spot for AMA with 18 points, a rebound, an assist and a steal.
AMA finished the tourney at the cellar with a listless 0-7 card, joining Wangs Basketball @26-Letran to the exit door of the eight-team joust that marked its return from a two-year hiatus amid the pandemic.(RL)
EcoOil-La Salle 92 - Cortez 21, Buensalida 12, B. Phillips 11, Blanco 10, Austria 9, Escandor 9, Nwankwo 6, Estacio 5, M. Phillips 5, Macalalag 4, Alao 3.
AMA Online 49 - Yambao 18, Baclig 6, Villamor 6, Ceniza 6, Pineda 3, Malones 3, Cruz 2, Reyes 2, Gonzales 2, Kapunan 1, Cruz 0, Fuentes 0, Camay 0.
Quarters: 19-6, 46-19, 75-37, 92-49.