RED-HOT Apex Fuel-San Sebastian torched the misfiring EcoOil-La Salle, 73-51, to post its third consecutive win and force a tie at second spot in the PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup yesterday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Fresh from a 40-point demolition of AMA Online, the Golden Stags bullied their way to another blowout affair at the expense of top UAAP contender in the Green Archers and thus gained a piece of No. 2 with idle Marinerong Pilipino with similar 3-1 cards.
Ichie Altamirano showed the way with 15 points, five rebounds and six assists while Romel Calahat added 13 markers and seven boards off the bench.
Rafael Are and Raymart Escobida were also instrumental with nine apiece in San Sebastian’s convincing 22-point win to keep its bid alive for a Top Two finish and an outright semifinal berth.
“It’s surprising but I have to give credit to the boys kasi alam ko kung gaano kahirap yung ginawa nilang depensa,” said coach Egay Macaraya as San Sebastian punished La Salle with 30 turnovers and only 38-percent clip.
Earlier, five-time NAASCU champion Adalem Construction-St. Clare squeaked past Builders Warehouse-Santo Tomas with a slim 87-86 win to clinch a spot in the playoffs.
NAASCU MVP Johnsherick Estrada and Joshua Fontanilla canned 21 and 17 markers, respectively, for the 3-2 Saints.
La Salle slid to 2-2 while Santo Tomas remained winless at 0-4 in the eight-team D-League that will only have the top six squads advancing in the playoffs.
The top two teams get to enjoy a free ride to the semis with the third to fourth-seeded squads scrambling in the quarterfinals for the last Final Four slots.
Adalem Construction-St. Clare 87 — Estrada 21, Fontanilla 17, Rojas 16, Ndong 8, Sablan 7, Estacio 6, Sumagaysay 5, Gamboa 4, Lopez 3, Tapenio 0, Manacho 0.
Builders Warehouse-UST 86 —Concepcion 19, Santos 17, Baclaan 14, Pangilinan 11, Stevens 7, Manalang 5, Mantua 5, Cabanero 4, Wilson 4, Escobido 0, Crisostomo 0, Canoy 0, Herrera 0.
Quarterscores: 16-21, 34-40, 59-60, 87-86.
Apex Fuel-San Sebastian 73 — Altamirano 15, Calahat 13, Are 9, Escobido 9, Una 8, Villapando 5, Sumoda 5, Shanoda 5, Desoyo 2, Yambing 2, Felebrico 0.
EcoOil-La Salle 51 — M. Phillips 11, Macalalag 11, Cortez 6, Manuel 5, Austria 5, Nwankwo 5, Buensalida 4, Alao 3, Estacio 1, Escandor 0.
Quarterscores: 24-13, 33-27, 53-38, 73-51. — John Bryan Ulanday