CJ Austria warmed up early and steered EcoOil-La Salle to a 97-74 Game Three victory over Adalem Construction-St. Clare Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
The lopsided victory sent the Archers to the 2022 PBA D-League Aspirants' Cup Finals against the winner of the other semifinal series between Marinerong Pilipino and Apex Fuel-San Sebastian.
The finals will be played Sunday.
The second-year winger uncorked 19 of his 26 points in the first half as the Green Archers jumped to a 52-40 lead at the half and never looked back. They pushed the lead to as big as 27, 75-48, late in the third frame. Austria also tallied five rebounds and three assists.
Kevin Quiambao also produced 16 points, four boards, two dimes, and two steals, and Michael Phillips tallied a double-double of 14 points, 13 rebounds to go with his six assists, five blocks, and four steals as La Salle finish the best-of-three semifinals series at 2-1.
"I'm really happy and satisfied with the way we played. The boys just played really hard today and the things we were supposed to do last time around, we did it right today," said coach Derick Pumaren.
This is the first Finals appearance for the Archers in the developmental ranks, and the second for Pumaren, who previously led Centro Escolar University to a bridesmaid finish in the 2019 Aspirants' Cup.
John Rojas carried the Saints with 17 points, five assists, and four boards in the loss.
Joshua Fontanilla struggled with his 16 points on 6-of-18 field goal shooting, while also adding eight rebounds and four dimes, as Johnsherick Estrada was held to just 10 points on 3-of-13 clip for Adalem-St. Clare. (RL)
EcoOil-La Salle 97 -- Austria 26, Quiambao 16, M. Phillips 14, Nelle 7, Winston 7, Escandor 7, Nwankwo 5, Buensalida 4, Estacio 3, Blanco 3, Cortez 3, B. Phillips 2, Manuel 0.
Adalem-St. Clare 74 -- Rojas 17, Fontanilla 16, Sablan 12, Estrada 10, Ndong 8, Estacio 4, Sumagaysay 4, Galang 3, Lopez 0, Gamboa 0, Manacho 0.
Quarters: 22-20, 52-40, 78-54, 97-74.