MANILA, Philippines – Marinerong Pilipino and BRT Sumisip Basilan-St Clare hacked out big wins against separate semifinal foes to inch closer to a finals stint in the PBA D-League on Thursday, September 19 at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.
Led by Eloy Poligrates, Marinerong Pilipino downed Technological Institute of the Philippines, 98-80, to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series.
Poligrates paced the Skippers with 18 points, including 10 in the opening frame, to spearhead his side's 17-4 start as the victory put them a win away from making their first-ever Finals appearance.
BRT Sumisip Basilan-St Clare also repulsed Centro Escolar University, 86-70, to move a win away from a title berth
Malian slotman Mohammed Pare paced the Saints with 19 points and 7 rebounds, while Joshua Fontanilla filled up the stat sheet with 14 points, 6 assists, and 5 rebounds.
With the Marinero Skippers already sitting at a 32-point cushion, 64-32, with 8:39 to go in the 3rd canto, the Engineers crawled their way back as Papa Ndiaye got them within 9, 81-72, with 6:50 left in the payoff period.
The trio of Jordan Rios, Mark Yee, and Jhonard Clarito, however, had other plans as they conspired for a 17-2 run to bring the lead back to 24, 98-74, with 2:23 left en route to Marinerong Pilipino's eighth straight win of the conference.
Rios supplied 12 points and 10 rebounds, Yee also got 12 points and 4 boards, and Clarito filled the stat sheet with 10 points, 9 rebounds, 6 assists, 5 steals, and 1 block.
Byron Villarias also produced 15 points, all on threes, for the Skippers.
"Masaya dahil nakuha namin yung Game 1 pero kailangan pa rin trabahuhin ang Game 2 dahil di pa tapos ang series," said coach Yong Garcia. "Kailangan pa ng corrections dahil noong 3rd quarter, medyo nag-relax kaya nakadikit sila."
(We’re happy to win Game 1 but we have to work harder in Game 2 because the series isn’t over. We need to correct some things because we relaxed in the 3rd quarter.)
Senegalese slotman Papa Ndiaye anchored TIP with 30 points, 17 rebounds, and 3 assists.
The Saints, meanwhile, took hold of the match with an 11-0 blast bridging the middle frames to turn a narrow 40-37 2nd quarter lead to a 51-37 advantage with 9:12 remaining in the 3rd canto.
Yet it wasn't as smooth sailing as St Clare thought it would, with CEU knocking the lead down to just 5, 55-50, with 4:28 to go in the same frame.
But Bautista and Leo Gabo made sure that the win was in the bag, taking over in the payoff period and gave the Saints a commanding 82-64 lead with 3:04 remaining to cruise to their eighth straight victory.
"Sa start pa lang mas aggressive kami," said Saints coach Stevenson Tiu. "Ineexpect ko mas aggressive sila pero 1st quarter pa lang, nakita ko na controlled na namin yung game."
(We were aggressive from the start. I expected them to come out aggressive as well, but I quickly saw that we’re in control of the game.)
Senegalese center Malick Diouf carried CEU in the losing cause with 12 points, 15 rebounds, 6 steals, 4 assists, and 3 blocks.
Jerome Santos was the only other double-digit scorer for the Scorpions with 11 points.
Marinerong Pilipino and St Clare aim to finish things off in Game 2 on Monday.
St Clare 86 – Pare 19, Fontanilla 14, Hallare 11, Bautista 10, Collado 9, Dumapig 8, Gabo 7, Rubio 5, Manacho 3, Penaredondo 0, Batino 0.
CEU 70 – Diouf 12, Santos 11, Guinitaran 8, Diaz 8, Tuadles 8, Sunga 7, Escalona 6, Bernabe 5, Tagal 5, De Ocampo 0, Murillo 0, Espiritu 0.
Quarters: 21-23, 46-37, 65-55, 86-70.
Marinerong Pilipino 98 – Poligrates 18, Villarias 15, Yee 12, Rios 12, Clarito 10, Alabanza 9, Diputado 7, Sara 6, Solis 4, Mangahas 2, Santillan 2, McAloney 1.
TIP 80 – Ndiaye 30, B. Santos 12, I. Santos 10, Bonsubre 8, De Mesa 7, Monte 5, Carurucan 4, Daguro 2, Tumalip 2, Alattica 0.
Quarters: 31-15, 55-32, 75-59, 98-80.