Lions trim Scorpions, sew up semis berth
Showing up as a fine-tuned machine despite an 11-day lull, Marinerong Pilipino-San Beda on Tuesday secured a semifinal berth in the PBA D-League Aspirants Cup after an 81-72 victory over Centro Escolar University (CEU) at Filoil EcoOil Centre.
Composed and sharp in their decision making, the Red Lions started out hot, settled for a comfortable lead at halftime, before thwarting all last-ditch attempts of a rally by CEU to rise to 5-1 and claim No. 1 spot in the playoffs.
“All throughout, we really focused on our decision making, shot selection, passes. [In our early games,] it was because of our early shots and turnovers that we lost,” San Beda coach Yuri Escueta, praising his guards for their composure.
Jacob Cortez scored 15 points while Pedro Alfaro III, Yukien Andrada and Clifford Jopia contributed 11 points each. Jopia also had 16 rebounds.
Wangs@27 Strikers-Letran boosted its hopes for No. 2 after a 62-61 win over Perpetual Help System Dalta.
Finishing 1-2 in the eliminations would mean an automatic seat in the semifinals, while Nos. 3-6 will go through a quarterfinal series where Nos. 3 and 4 will battle Nos. 6 and 5, respectively, with the higher-ranked teams needing to win only once to advance.
The aggressiveness of Ron Tolentino, who led the Scorpions with 25 points and 10 rebounds, and Jerome Santos (15 points) helped put CEU back in the game, only for San Beda’s zone defense to save the day for the Lions. INQ