August 02, 2022

UST eliminates Letran, earns playoff berth

RAMPAGING Builders Warehouse-UST caught the last playoff ticket in the 2022 PBA D-League Aspirants'Cup playoffs, booting out fancied Wangs Basketball @26-Letran, 89-81, Tuesday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.

The Growling Tigers squandered an early lead but recovered in the nick of time highlighted by a strong closeout in the last six minutes to eliminate back-to-back NCAA champion Letran in the virtual knockout match.

Builders Warehouse-UST, which started the tourney losing its first four games, finished the elims at 3-4 to advance in the quarterfinals as the no. 6 seed to set up a clash against no. 3 Adalem Construction-St. Clare armed with a twice-to-beat incentive.

"Hindi pa kami masyadong nakapag-prepare sa mga unang laro pero nag-trabaho lang kami. We believed in ourselves at ang mindset namin is bagong Tigers talaga," said interim coach Albert Alocillo.

"Malaking motivation sa amin ito going into the playoffs."

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Five players scored in twin digits for the Growling Tigers led by captain Sherwin Concepcion with 17 points on four triples. He also added 14 rebounds, an assist, a steal and a block.

Nic Cabanero and Kean Baclaan chipped in 16 points each while Paul Manalang and Bryan Santos had 10 apiece in their team's scattered attack built on a hot start and an even stronger finish.

Riding on their historic 71-point win over AMA Online and a mammoth upset of top contender Marinerong Pilipino, the Growling Tigers raced to 31-17 start to set the tone in what turned out to be an airtight battle down the road.

As the Knights refused to go down without a fight by snatching the driver seat at 75-73 at 6:51 mark, UST saved its best for last and unleashed a blistering 18-6 closeout for the win.

Louie Sangalang and Fran Yu uncorked 18 and 17 points, respectively, but the skidding Knights still stumbled out of the playoffs at 3-4 after losing their last four games. (RL)

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The Scores:

Builders Warehouse-UST 89 - Concepcion 17, Cabanero 16, Baclaan 16, Manalang 10, Santos 10, Mantua 8, Pangilinan 6, Stevens 4, Manaytay 2, Herrera 0, Escobido 0, Wilson 0.

Wangs-Letran 81 - Sangalang 18, Yu 17, Reyson 14, Guarino 11, Javillonar 8, Olivario 5, Ariar 4, Aviso 0, Go 0.

Quarters: 25-17, 45-41, 64-68, 89-81.