MANILA, Philippines – The Builders-Warehouse UST Growling Tigers continued their late winning run at the 2022 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup with a 98-93 stunner to force a quarterfinals rubber match against the Adalem Construction-St. Clare Saints on Friday, August 5.
Rookie Kean Baclaan had the game of his young life with a 35-point eruption off the bench on an excellent 13-of-17 shooting, while UAAP Season 84 revelation Nic Cabañero fully flexed his two-way prowess with 25 points and 5 steals.
Veteran sniper Sherwin Concepcion also kept up his stellar play with an 18-point, 13-rebound double-double as the Tigers won their fourth straight game after starting from a 0-4 hole.
Thanks to the trio’s stellar run, UST brushed off an early 10-25 deficit, and took its first lead at the 7:20 mark of the third quarter, 49-48, off a Concepcion layup.
From there, the Tigers kept up their stellar play against their old coach Jinino Manansala, and maintained a slim edge down the wire.
Although a Jolo Sumagaysay trey at the 2:55 mark of the fourth kept St. Clare within 2, 90-92, a Cabañero alley-oop finish followed by a Baclaan dagger triple with 1:37 left quickly sealed the deal for UST, 97-90.
Former one-and-done Tiger and longtime St. Clare stalwart Joshua Fontanilla saw his 23-point spark in 21 minutes go down the drain as UST now forces a do-or-die Game 2 on Wednesday, August 10.
Juan Gomez de Liaño, Jollo Go tow Marinero
Meanwhile, the Marinerong Pilipino Skippers eliminated the feisty CEU Scorpions from contention in the first game of the double-header, 75-66.
Juan Gomez de Liaño again showed off his all-around skill set with 17 points, 8 assists, and 7 rebounds, while Jollo Go also scored 17 on a 5-of-17 clip.
Adrian Nocum added 12 points, 10 rebounds, and 6 dimes as the Mapua Cardinals-laden Skippers arranged a semifinal clash with a familiar NCAA foe, the top-seeded APEX Fuel-San Sebastian Stags.
Jhomel Ancheta paced the conference-ending loss with 12 points, while Lenard Santiago – the younger brother of volleyball stars Jaja and Dindin – tallied an 11-point, 11-rebound double-double.
Marinerong Pilipino 75 – Gomez de Liaño 17, Go 17, Gamboa 13, Nocum 12, Bonifacio 6, Soberano 3, Hernandez 3, Pido 2, Carino 2, Manlangit 0.
CEU 66 – Ancheta 12, Santiago 11, Santos 10, Penano 10, Diaz 9, Balogun 6, Tolentino 4, Ferrer 2, Borromeo 2, Bernabe 0, Cabotaje 0, Malicana 0.
Quarters: 19-11, 37-29, 48-41, 75-66.
Builders Warehouse-UST 98 – Baclaan 35, Cabanero 25, Concepcion 18, Manalang 12, Mantua 4, Stevens 2, Santos 1, M. Pangilinan 1, Wilson 0.
Adalem-St. Clare 93 – Fontanilla 23, Estrada 15, Sumagaysay 14, Rojas 13, Lopez 10, Estacio 8, Gamboa 5, Ndong 4, Manacho 1, Sablan 0.
Quarters: 12-25, 39-43, 72-70, 98-93.