May 08, 2024

Green Archers go for the knockout punch, Scorpions may be without big man Olusesi for second straight game

Needing just a win to accomplish its goal, EcoOil-La Salle sets out to deliver the knockout punch Thursday when it clashes with Centro Escolar University in Game 2 of their best-of-three titular series for the 2024 PBA D-League Aspirants' Cup Thursday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig, City.

And the Green Archers appeared unstoppable from claiming their third straight championship in style in the 7:30 p.m. showdown as the Scorpions may be without big man Abdul Wahab Olusesi for the second straight game.

The two-time defending champs took advantage the absence of Olusesi in Game 1 and walked away with 98-76 demolition of CEU to stay unbeaten in seven games.

Another victory on Thursday will earn the Green Archers the disctinction as the second winningest team in the league next only to NLEX, which holds the record for most tiles won at six.

"Winning a three-peat is the end goal. But Game 1 doesn't give us the championship (yet)," said La Salle deputy mentor Gian Nazario, who will once again count on MVP candidates Jonnel Policarpio and Mike Phillips to get the job done.

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"We still have to win one more game. It's gonna be a feat if we get it but ayaw muna naming isipin 'yun."

That means the Green Archers have no room for complacency whether CEU plays with or without Olusesi.

The Nigerian big man sat out Game 1 due to sprained knee he suffered in the Scorpions' 78-56 Game 3 win in the semifinals against Marinerong Pilipino-San Beda.

But the Scorpions are not throwing the white towel just yet. They vowed to give their best shot and give their foes a run for their money. Afterall, nobody had expected them to reach this far.

"We are preparing without him, obviously we are undersized compared to La Salle," noted CEU coach Jeff Perlas, who has tapped his small but terrible crew led by Franz Ray Diaz, Daniel Marcelo, Dylan Darbin and Jerome Santos to lead mission impossible.

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"I told them we are in the finals and we belong here. We just have to play with more passion and a big heart." (JBU)