St. Clare blasts Keanzel, gains ‘twice-to-beat’

John Bryan Ulanday - The Philippine Star

MANILA, Philippines —  Streaking Go Torakku-St. Clare turned it up in the second half to blast Keanzel Basketball, 124-90, and seal a twice-to-beat quarterfinal incentive in the 2024 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup yesterday at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.

The Saints shrugged off a 19-25 start by exploding in the middle quarters, none bigger than a 31-10 barrage in the third period to secure the last win-once bonus in the quarterfinals as the No. 4 seed with a 2-3 slate.

Eugene Cabauatan, with 19 points and seven rebounds, led five players in double digits as the Saints, even without ace slotman Babacar Ndong, led by as many as 39 points to complete their turnaround after a 0-3 start in the short six-team tourney.

Earl Yu added 13 points, including 10 in their third-quarter runaway, Charles Burgos collared 13 points and 11 rebounds while Megan Galang (11) and Kint Manzano (10) chipped in solid help as the Saints dodged any complications with CCI-Yengskivel (1-3) and Keanzel (0-5).

“Must-win ito sa amin. Buti noong second half, nakaalagwa,” said St. Clare coach Jinino Manansala as St. Clare’s win relegated CCI and Keanzel to the cellar for twice-to-win disadvantages.

Denzel Wong (31) Alfren Gayosa (17), Earl Ceniza (12) and Rudolfo Alota (12) paced Keanzel in yet another blowout loss.

St. Clare will face fifth-ranked CCI while winless Keanzel, at No. 6, faces a daunting task against the still-to-be-determined No. 3 seed in the quarterfinals.

The top two gain outright semis spots, leaving the last four to battle for the two other semis seats.

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