PBA D-League

La Salle nears 3rd straight PBA D-League title after rout of CEU

Rob Andrew Dongiapon

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La Salle nears 3rd straight PBA D-League title after rout of CEU

SOAR. Jonnel Policarpio in action for the La Salle Green Archers in the 2024 PBA D-League Aspirants' Cup.

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The La Salle Green Archers stay unbeaten as they zero in on becoming only the second team in PBA D-League history to win three straight titles

MANILA, Philippines – Undefeated De La Salle University Green Archers exacted dominance once more, outclassing the CEU Scorpions, 98-72, to open their PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup Finals at the FilOil EcoOil Centre in San Juan, on Monday, May 6. 

La Salle only trailed at 2-3 before snagging control the rest of the way to move one win closer to its third straight PBA D-League championship.

“This is our end goal,” said La Salle assistant coach Gian Nazario of the D-League title. “It’s going to be a feat when we get it, but we still have to play one more game.”

CEU came to as close as 6 points early in the second quarter, but the Green Archers ended the first half on a 29-9 run and never looked back. 

The Scorpions played with a thin frontline after losing foreign-student athlete Abdul Olususi to a sprained left knee following a 15-point, 28-rebound performance in their finals-clinching win over NCAA champions San Beda Red Lions last May 2. 

“We know CEU was riding on a momentum. A lot of things were going their way. Of course, beating San Beda was such a huge achievement for their program,” said La Salle assistant coach Gian Nazario. 

“I just told the players that expect CEU to come out with a lot of confidence… From the start, we need to match their energy, and that’s what we did.”

All but two of the 15 players that saw action for La Salle scored a field goal, with Henry Agunanne and Jonnel Policarpio leading the way with 17 points apiece. 

JC Macalalag added 13 markers, while Raven Cortez and EJ Gollena contributed 10 each, as the Green Archers look to be only the second team in D-League history to win three straight titles after the NLEX Road Warriors won four consecutive crowns from 2011 to 2013.

Down by as many as 39 points, CEU struggled to find offense throughout as Dave Bernabe, Daniel Marcelo, and Gab Gamboa ended up as the only double-digit scorers for the Scorpions, tallying 10 points each. 

Top guards Franz Diaz and Jerome Santos, meanwhile, chipped in just 5 and 6 markers, respectively. 

Game 2 will be on Thursday, May 9, at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.

The Scores

La Salle 98 – Agunanne 17, Policarpio 17, Macalalag 13, Cortez 10, Gollena 10, Austria 6, Phillips 6, David 5, Alian 4, Abadam 3, Rubico 3, Gaspay 2, Buensalida 2, Marasigan 0, Romero 0.

CEU 72 – Marcelo 10, Bernabe 10, Gamboa 10, Darbin 8, Serrano 8, Santos 6, Malicana 6, Diaz 5, De Guzman 4, Guevarra 4, Benitez 1, Puray 0, Mendoza 0.

Quarters: 23-9, 54-28, 79-45, 98-72.

 – Rappler.com

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