July 13, 2022

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Three teams bid to barge in winner circle in PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup

ADALEM Construction-St. Clare aims to get a run going while three teams bid to barge into the winner’s circle in the Philippine Basketball Association (PBA) D-League Aspirants’ Cup at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Motivated by a breakthrough win against Centro Escolar University (CEU), the Saints (1-1) eye a quick follow-up against winless AMA Online (0-2) at 10:30 a.m. as Apex Fuel-San Sebastian (0-1) and Builders Warehouse-Santo Tomas (0-1) shoot for maiden triumph at 12:30 p.m.

St. Clare and AMA Online are actually rivals in the National Athletic Association of Schools, Colleges and Universities (NAASCU), where the Saints have been stamping their class over their counterparts laced by five straight championships.

But coach Jinino Manansala is not keen on lowering his guard, especially after AMA’s gallant stand against no less than back-to-back NCAA champion Wangs Basketball @26-Letran.

To dodge a major upset, Mr. Manansala and the Saints will be banking on the leadership of NAASCU MVP Johnsherick Estrada, who punished the Scorpions with 19 points, five assists and two steals in a 20-point blowout.

AMA, for its part, is looking to ride on an impressive showing against Letran highlighted by a 10-point lead in the fourth quarter before running out of steam in a close 89-84 defeat.

Meanwhile, San Sebastian and Santo Tomas are out to atone for their 86-74 and 112-82 losses against Marinerong Pilipino and EcoOil-La Salle, respectively.

Marinerong Pilipino (2-0) and Letran (2-0) currently pace the eight-team D-League cast with La Salle (1-1), CEU (1-1) and St. Clare (1-1) on their coattails. — John Bryan Ulanday