PBA D-League

Letran, Perpetual survive CEU, PSP to reach PBA D-League semis

Martin Mendoza

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Letran, Perpetual survive CEU, PSP to reach PBA D-League semis

ACROBATIC. Wangs-Letran guard Kurt Reyson attempts a layup against the CEU defense in the 2023 PBA D-League Aspirants' Cup.

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Letran arranges a 2023 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup semifinals date with its rival San Beda, while Perpetual books a final four ticket against La Salle

MANILA, Philippines – The Wangs-Letran Knights and the Perpetual Help Altas advanced to the semifinals of the 2023 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup after earning hard-fought wins over their respective quarterfinal opponents at the Paco Arena on Tuesday, June 6.

With both Letran and Perpetual enjoying twice-to-beat advantages, the Knights grinded out a 94-87 overtime victory against the CEU Scorpions, while the Altas scored a 97-90 triumph versus the PSP Gymers.

Point guard Kurt Reyson put on a show for the Knights in their thrilling come-from-behind escape over the Scorpions as he sizzled for a game-high 27 points, 6 rebounds, and 5 assists.

Deo Cuajao backstopped Reyson with 15 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 steals, while Kobe Monje added 12 points.

With CEU threatening to pull away, 77-67, and only 3:27 left to play in regulation, Monje, Cuajao, and Reyson combined for 12 unanswered points to overtake the Scorpions, 79-77, with 44 seconds remaining.

Ron Rei Tolentino ended CEU’s drought as he shot two free throws to tie the game with 31 seconds left, before he and Pao Javillonar both missed their potential game-winning attempts for their respective squads in the dying seconds of the final frame.

In overtime, it was Letran’s Kyle Tolentino who took over as he unloaded 8 of his 11 points in the extra period alone, including a dagger three-pointer that pushed the Knights’ lead to a two-possession affair, 92-87, with just 1:01 left in the game.

Ron Rei Tolentino topscored for CEU with 25 points, while Ayodeji Victor Balogun posted a double-double of 17 points and 17 rebounds.

Like Letran, Perpetual rode on a balanced attack against PSP in the first game as five players breached double-digit scoring, with Cyrus Nitura dropping a team-high 20 points.

John Abis scored 19 points, Jielo Razon chipped in 18, while John Paul Boral and Arthur Roque contributed 15 and 13, respectively.

It was a back-and-forth shootout between Perpetual and PSP all throughout the fourth quarter and with the Gymers only trailing by 1, 90-91, in the final minute of the ball game, Boral and Nitura connected on crucial back-to-back hits to seal the deal for the Altas.

The Altas survived a scoring explosion by former San Miguel Beermen guard Wendell Comboy, who paced the Gymers with a game-high 26 points.

Letran goes up against its rival Marinerong Pilipino-San Beda Red Lions, while Perpetual takes on the EcoOil-La Salle Green Archers in the best-of-three semifinals, which will begin on Thursday, June 8.

The Scores

First Game

Perpetual 97 – Nitura 20, Abis 19, Razon 18, Boral 15, Roque 13, Ferreras 7, Ramirez 5, Nunez 0, Barcuma 0, Sevilla 0, Pagaran 0.

PSP 90 – Comboy 26, Dela Cruz 15, Yutuc 14, Bayla 10, Olegario 8, Acuña 5, Mohammad 4, Velchez 4, Meneses 2, Sumagaysay 2, Castillo 9.

Quarters: 27-27, 57-47, 68-73, 97-90.

Second Game

Letran 94 – Reyson 27, Cuajao 15, Monje 12, Tolentino 11, Fajardo 10, Javillonar 6, Ariar 5, Go 3, Santos 2, Guarino 2, Morales 1, Alarcon 0.

CEU 87 – Tolentino 25, Balogun 17, Santos 14, Cabotaje 12, Diaz 9, Puray 6, Bernabe 4, Reyes 0, Anagbogu 0, Peñano 0, Joson 0, Borromeo 0, Malicana 0.

Quarters: 11-14, 38-32, 54-64, 79-79, 94-87 (OT).

– Rappler.com

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