PBA D-League: St. Clare books semis berth, eliminates UST

St. Clare's Johnsherick Estrada vs UST's Nic Cabañero in the PBA D-League Aspirants' Cup quarterfinals.

St. Clare’s Johnsherick Estrada vs UST’s Nic Cabañero in the PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup quarterfinals. –PBA IMAGES

MANILA, Philippines–Adalem Construction-St. Clare clinched a semifinals berth in the PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup and ousted Builders Warehouse-University of Santo Tomas, 90-87, Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

It was a bittersweet moment for St. Clare coach Jinino Manansala, who had to topple his former UAAP team out of championship contention as the Saints set up a semifinals showdown against EcoOil De La Salle Green Archers.

“I was always there in their training, even if I was handling St. Clare. Of course, I’m a Thomasian so whenever they need me, I’m there,” Manansala, whose squad had a twice-to-beat advantage in the quarterfinals, said.

He clarified that he respects both teams so he drew boundaries in training both squads en route to the D-League.

“But of course, I let them go out of respect for the game because I’m making game plans for both St. Clare and UST so they won’t think bad of me.”

The Saints, who lost in Game 1, unloaded a decisive 15-1 in the fourth period to wrest the lead, 74-61, and create enough separation to fend off all the Tigers’ last ditch rallies.

UST managed four straight buckets to inch within three with 8.1 ticks, but its attempt to send the game into overtime failed as Kean Baclaan missed half court heave at the buzzer.

Johnsherick Estrada led the Saints to the win with 20 points. Jolo Sumagaysay helped St. Clare with 14.

Nic Cabanero finished with 19 markers for UST. Baclaan and Sherwin Concepcion registered 17 and 15, respectively.