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."
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)
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.