The University of Perpetual Help System Dalta pulled away late to squeak past the pesky PSP Gymers, 97-90, and march on to the 2023 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup semifinals Tuesday at the Paco Arena in Manila.
Down by two in the last three minutes, the No. 4 Altas unleashed a staggering 11-2 finishing kick to make the most out of its quarterfinal incentive and eliminate the sixth-ranked Gymers in just one try.
Perpetual will face the No. 2 seed and reigning champion EcoOil La Salle in a best-of-three Final Four series starting either on Thursday or next Tuesday depending on the result of the other quarterfinal pairing between CEU and Wangs Basketball @27 Strikers-Letran as of press time.
“Parang ‘di pang-quarterfinals ‘yung laro namin nu’ng 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.”
Five players conspired for the Altas in the clutch, led by Cyrus Nitura, who showcased an all-around game and finished with 20 points, five rebounds, four assists, two steals and a block including the dagger bucket in the last 49 seconds.
John Abis and skipper Jielo Razon added 19 and 18 points, respectively, while John Paul Boral (15) and Arthur Roque (13) also made their presence felt.