Saints snap Stags winning streak

Adalem-St. Clare spoiled APEX Fuel-San Sebastian winning run after staging an 80-66 upset in the 2022 Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) D-League Aspirants’ Cup Tuesday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.

The Saints relied on their pivotal 11-2 splurge in the third quarter to halt the Stags’ five-game streak and end their elimination campaign on a 4-3 card.

John Edcel Rojas led all scorers with 20 points, seven rebounds, four assists as Adalem clinched the third spot and assured itself of a twice-to-beat advantage in the playoff round.

Johnsherick Estrada scored all of 19 markers in the second half to go with seven rebounds and two steals, while Joshua Fontanilla had 14 points, four assists and four steals.

“I know from the start that we are in a win-or-go-home situation,” Saints head coach Jinino Manansala said.

“If we win, we are No. 3 but if we lose, we will be 99.9 percent out of the tournament. I told the players they are playing well but just couldn’t finish it well.”

Only up by one at the half, Estrada finally got his groove and drilled 13 markers that gave the Saints a 60-51 advantage going to the final frame.

The Stags ran out of gas for an uprising as Cris Shanoda’s jumper only got them as close as nine points, before Rojas and Fontanilla fired back-to-back buckets that stretched the lead to 16, 77-61, 2:12 remaining.

Romel Calahat delivered 19 points and six rebounds for the Stags, who already secured one of the two outright semifinal berths with a 5-2 record.

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 Fuel-San Sebastian College (66) — Calahat 19, Sumoda 14, Altamirano 7, Are 6, Yambing 5, Shanoda 4, Desoyo Jr. 4, Felebrico 4, Garcia 3, Escobido 0, Cosari 0, Paglinawan 0.
Quarters: 12-15, 36-35, 60-51, 80-66.

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