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PBA D-League: Rojas, Estrada connive vs San Sebastian, lift St. Clare to third seed

Adalem Construction-St. Clare stopped Apex Fuel-San Sebastian’s winning streak, taking an impressive 80-66 victory to take the third seed in the 2022 PBA D-League Aspirants Cup playoffs Tuesday, at Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.

Up by just a solitary point at the break, the Saints unleashed a searing third-quarter barrage to take command en route to finishing the eliminations with a 4-3 card.

John Rojas led the way with 20 points, six rebounds, and four assists. Adalem-St. Clare, in the process, secured a twice-to-beat advantage at the upper half of the quarterfinals bracket.

NAASCU MVP Johnsherick Estrada threw in help with 19 points – all in the second half. Meanwhile, veteran Joshua Fontanilla added 14 points, four dimes, and four steals in St. Clare’s stoppage of San Sebastian’s five-game run.

“Simula pa lang alam ko na win or go home kami. Kung manalo kami, No. 3. Pero kung matalo, 99.9% na maa-out kami. Sabi ko lang sa mga bata, naglalaro sila nang maayos pero ‘di lang maka-finish nang maganda,” said coach Jinino Mansansala. “We know we have to go all out and this time, nakuha namin. Ngayon, maganda na napuntahan namin at twice-to-beat.”

Led by the troika of Rojas, Estrada and Fontanilla, the Saints found their groove in the third quarter. They then turned a slim 36-35 halftime cushion to a comfortable 60-51 upper hand at the half. They even ballooned to the biggest lead at 77-61 heading home.

The Saints followed Marinerong Pilipino as the only teams to beat Apex Fuel-San Sebastian, which has become a revelation this conference in clinching the No. 1 seed and an outright semifinal berth over a bevy of top contenders.

#ReadMore  BRT Sumisip-St. Clare scores whopping 180 points, advances to D-League semis

Romel Calahat and Jessie Sumoda had 19 and 14 points, respectively, for the Golden Stags. They finished the eliminations at 5-2 but saw their five-game win streak come to an end.

The Scores:

Adalem-St. Clare 80 — Rojas 20, Estrada 19, Fontanilla 14, Gamboa 8, Estacio 7, Sumagaysay 6, Ndong 2, Manacho 2, Lopez 2, Galang 0, Sablan 0.

APEX-San Sebastian 66 — Calahat 19, Sumoda 14, Altamirano 7, Are 6, Yambing 5, Shanoda 4, Desoyo 4, Felebrico 4, Garcia 3, Escobido 0, Cosari 0, Paglinawan 0.

Quarterscores: 12-15, 36-35, 60-51, 80-66.

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