A vengeful Wangs Basketball @27 Strikers-Letran put away Centro Escolar University, 94-87, in overtime of their quarterfinals showdown in the 2023 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup Tuesday at the Paco Arena in Manila.
Kyle Tolentino scored eight of his 11 points in OT, including two triples while Kurt Reyson was steady all game-long as Letran gained passage into the semifinals against Marinerong Pilipino San Beda.
The best of three series start Thursday at the Ynares Arena in Pasig City.
“Laging ganito ‘yung game namin pero Praise God lang kasi kahit paano, nandoon na kami sa semis. Luckily, nanalo kami,” said coach Rensy Bajar.
Letran’s victory also avenge its 92-85 double overtime loss to the same squad in the eliminations.
“Sinabi ko lang sa team na hangga’t hindi tumutunog ‘yung last buzzer, may pag-asa pa at hindi kailangang sumuko. Nandoon ‘yung pride ng mga bata kasi tinalo nila kami sa eliminations,” added Bajar, who has numerous classics with CEU in the UCBL.
Letran rallied from 10-points down in the closing minutes then finished off the Scorpions with an 8-0 run in the extra session starring Tolentino, Reyson and Vince Cuajao.
Reyson topscored for the Knights with 27 points while Cuajao scattered 15 points, grabbed five rebounds and had five steals.
It was a frustrating loss for the Scorpions, who appeared on the way to forcing a do-or-die match when they stormed to a 77-67 advantage with three minutes remaining in regulations.
But sloppy defense allowed to the Knights to rally and regain momentum.
Ron Rei Toletino had 25 points while Ajodeji Victor Balogun turned in a double-double with 17 points and 17 rebounds for CEU.
But the duo threw away their efforts by successively missing good looks in the end game with the score tied at 79-79.
Wangs Strikers-Letran 94 – Reyson 27, Cuajao 15, Monje 12, K. Tolentino 11, Fajardo 10, Javillonar 6, Ariar 5, Go 3, Santos 2, Guarino 2, Morales 1, Alarcon 0.
CEU 87 – R. Tolentino 25, Balogun 17, Santos 14, Cabotaje 12, Diaz 9, Puray 6, Bernabe 4, Reyes 0, Anagbogu 0, Joson 0, Borromeo 0, Malicana 0.
Quarterscores: 11-14, 38-32, 54-64, 79-79, 94-87.