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PBA D-League: Perpetual staves off PSP to advance to semis

University of Perpetual Help System Dalta pulled away late to narrowly defeat the pesky PSP Gymers, 97-90, and advance to the 2023 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup semifinals on Tuesday at the Paco Arena in Manila.

Trailing by two points in the final three minutes, the fourth-seeded Altas unleashed an impressive 11-2 run to take full advantage of their quarterfinal incentive and eliminate the sixth-ranked Gymers in a single attempt.

Perpetual will now face the second-seeded and reigning champion EcoOil-La Salle in a best-of-three Final Four series, which is scheduled to start either on Thursday or next Tuesday, depending on the result of the other quarterfinal match between CEU and Wangs Basketball @27 Strikers-Letran as of press time.

“Parang ‘di pang-quarterfinals ‘yung laro namin nung una pero ‘di kami pwedeng ‘di manalo ngayon after our pep talk with our school owner,” said coach Myk Saguiguit, referring to Dr. Antonio Tamayo’s encouraging words to his wards.

“It’s our first time in the D-League semifinals after three stints. It’s our first time to reach this feat so sana maging maganda,” the third-year head coach added.

In the crucial moments, five players collaborated for the Altas, with Cyrus Nitura leading the charge by showcasing an all-around game and finishing with 20 points, five rebounds, four assists, two steals, and a block, including the decisive bucket in the last 49 seconds.

John Abis and team captain Jielo Razon contributed 19 and 18 points, respectively, while John Paul Boral (15) and Arthur Roque (13) also made their presence felt.

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PSP maintained their momentum throughout the match and held an 86-88 lead off Val Acuna’s three-pointer with 2:55 remaining.

However, the Altas had one final trick up their sleeves.

Razon completed an and-one play to put the Altas back in control before Nitura sealed the victory with a coast-to-coast lay-up, making the score 95-90.

Abis sank two free throws with 15 seconds left to secure the final count.

Wendell Comboy led PSP with 26 points.

The Scores:

Perpetual 97 – Nitura 20, Abis 19, Razon 18, Boral 15, Roque 13, Ferreras 7, Ramirez 5, Pagaran 0, Barcuma 0, Nunez 0, Sevilla 0.

PSP 90 – Comboy 26, Dela Cruz 15, Yutuc 14, Bayla 10, Olegario 8, Acuña 5, Velchez 4, Mohammad 4, Meneses 2, Sumagaysay 2, Castillo 0.

Quarterscores: 27-27, 57-47, 68-73, 97-90.

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