EcoOil-La Salle tightened its grip in the second half to defeat the feisty University of Perpetual Help System Dalta, 107-78, in Game 1 of their semifinal clash in the 2023 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup on Thursday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig City.
The Green Archers started the third quarter with an 11-2 run, extending their lead to a commanding 61-45 advantage en route. They have now taken a 1-0 lead in the best-of-three series.
La Salle has an opportunity to eliminate Perpetual and secure a return trip to the best-of-three finals with another victory in Game 2 on Tuesday at the Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan.
“I’ve been mentioning that we’re really trying to build good habits here. We just challenged the team in terms of their individual defense, especially in the second half, that we needed to contain Perpetual,” said La Salle assistant coach Gian Nazario.
Mark Nonoy sank five triples and finished with 22 points in just 18 minutes of play for the Green Archers.
EJ Gollena provided a spark off the bench with 11 points, while Bright Nwankwo made his presence felt inside with 10 points and 13 rebounds.
La Salle held a lead of up to 33 points.
Skipper Jielo Razon and Cyrus Nitura contributed 17 and 15 points, respectively, for the Altas.
Perpetual came close to narrowing the gap at halftime, trailing 42-50, but eventually ran out of steam.
EcoOil-La Salle 107 – Nonoy 22, Gollena 11, Nwankwo 10, Austria 9, M. Phillips 9, Quiambao 8, Escandor 8, David 6, Alao 6, Abadam 5, Cortez 5, Macalalag 4, B. Phillips 4, Manuel 0.
Perpetual 78 – Razon 17, Nitura 15, Ferreras 14, Pagaran 11, Barcuma 7, Boral 4, Abis 4, Nunez 4, Cuevas 2, Roque 0, Orgo 0, Ramirez 0.
Quarterscores: 27-23, 50-42, 71-60, 107-78.