Apex Fuel-San Sebastian defeated an error-prone EcoOil-La Salle squad 73-51 to win the 2022 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup at Smart Araneta Coliseum for the third time in a row.
Ichie Altamirano played an important role for the Golden Stags, hounding defenders for seven steals in addition to 15 points, six assists, and five rebounds. San Sebastian now leads the competition 3-1.
San Sebastian pulled away from La Salle with a 20-point third quarter, thanks to Altamirano’s defensive spark. They increased their halftime lead from 33-27 to 53-34 by the end of the third quarter. With 3:26 remaining, an Altamirano triple increased the top spot to 26 points, 73-47.
“”Surprising talaga,” coach Egay Macaraya said, “but I have to give credit to the boys kasi alam ko kung gaano kahirap ‘yung ginagawa na depensa.”
Off the bench, Romel Calahat had 13 points and seven rebounds, while Rafael Are and Raymart Escobido each had nine.
La Salle lost its way by engaging 30 turnovers, which led to the Golden Stags scoring 20 points. The Green Archers fell to 2-2 in the tournament after Michael Phillips led them with 11 points and eight rebounds.
Johnsherick Estrada powered Adalem Construction-St. in the first game. Clare defeated Builders Warehouse-UST 87-86 in overtime. The NAASCU MVP scored 13 of his 21 points in the overtime period to result in the Saint’s third win and become the first team to make the playoffs a playoff spot at 3-2. In the win, he also had eight rebounds and five assists.
“Humanap kami ng go-to guy para ma-seal namin ng maayos yung game,” coach Jinino Manansala said of Estrada, who was assisted by Joshua Fontanilla’s 17 points and seven assists and John Rojas’ 16 points, three assists, and two rebounds.