Skippers, Scorpions gain semis


    MARINERONG Pilipino’s firepower simply proved too much for a game but outgunned AMA Online Education side yesterday.

    Banking on a hot start and a sustained charge, the Skippers made short work of the Titans 100-78 to clinch a semifinals slot in the PBA D-League Foundation Cup at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.

    Former pro Eliud Poligrates led five other teammates in double-digits with 19 points, to go with three rebounds, and three assists, while Mark Yee, also a former pro, and Jay-R Alabanza added 13 and 12 markers, respectively.

    Byron Villarias, Jhonard Clarito, and Rev Diputado combined for 32 points as Marinerong Pilipino advanced to the semis for the first time since 2017.

    Marinerong Pilipino will take on the winner of the Technological Institute of the Philippines-Black Mamba quarters battle. The Engineers are armed with a twice-to-beat advantage.

    The crossover semis will be both best-of-3 series.

    In the other game, Centro Escolar University dismantled Asia’s Lashes Tomas Morato 89-48 to also bag a semis berth.

    Rich Guinitaran led the Scorpions with 16 points, 14 boards, and four dimes while Dave Bernabe had 15 and 10.

    Six-foot-11 Senegalese import Maodo Malick Diouf and Franz Diaz also added 12 and 10 markers, respectively for CEU, which will battle winner between twice-to-beat BRT Sumisip Basilan-St. Clare and Hyperwash in the other quarterfinals bracket.

    Skippers coach Yong Garcia beamed as his players were aptly rewarded for their hard work.

    “Very thankful ako sa management dahil sa pagiging supportive nila, at sa players dahil trinabaho nila ang laro na ito kaya kami makakarating ng semifinals,” said Garcia.

    “Masaya kami. Tratrabahuhin ulit namin iyong semifinals para naman makarating kami sa finals,” he added.

    Marinerong Pilipino raced to a 52-34 bulge behind Poligrates and Yee at the half.

    The Skippers padded their lead to as high as 68-42 on a Yee basket at the 4:49 mark of the third quarter and were never threatened from there.

    In what was likely his swan song in the D-league play, Aaron Black carried the fight for the Titans with 22 points while Vince Tolentino and Andre Paras had 13 and 12, respectively.