JUAN Gomez de Liano caught fire when it mattered the most, pushing Marinerong Pilipino into the 2022 PBA D-League Aspirants' Cup Finals with a tough 69-64 Game Three win over Apex Fuel-San Sebastian Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
This will be a chance for redemption for Marinerong Pilipino, which finished runner-up to BRT Sumisip-St. Clare back in the 2019 Foundation Cup.
The shifty Gilas Pilipinas guard uncorked eight points in the last 3:01 of the game, scoring back-to-back triples before the insurance layup with 52.4 seconds left to push his side up by four, 66-62.
Arvin Gamboa then put the game under wraps, firing the last three points including the game-sealing undergoal stab in the last 12.5 ticks as Marinerong Pilipino made its second Finals appearance.
"It was really all about our team mindset," said Gomez de Liano, who led the Skippers with 23 points, eight rebounds, and six assists in the clincher.
"We just had the right mindset coming into this do-or-die game."
AC Soberano scored 14 points from two treys off the bench, while Jollo Go had 11 in the Skippers' victory.
Romel Calahat unfurled 19 points and nine rebounds to carry the fight for the top seed Golden Stags in this Game Three loss. (RL)
Marinerong Pilipino 69 -- Gomez de Liano 23, Soberano 14, Go 11, Bonifacio 7, Carino 6, Nocum 4, Gamboa 3, Manlangit 1, Pido 0, Bonsubre 0, Agustin 0.
Apex Fuel-San Sebastian 64 -- Calahat 19, Sumoda 15, Villapando 12, Desoyo 6, Felebrico 6, Altamirano 3, Escobido 3, Are 0, Yambing 0, Shanoda 0, Cosari 0, Una 0.
Quarters: 7-11, 25-26, 44-43, 69-64.