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Archers force sudden death

He averaged 18.4 points and 6.3 assists, both league-best, alongside 8.4 rebounds and 1.2 steals to be the undoubted leader for Marinerong Pilipino.

This performance also saw him record the 10th triple-double in D-League history in the Skippers’ elimination round clash against EcoOil-La Salle.

Gomez de Liaño becomes the second Marinerong Pilipino player to win the MVP trophy after Eloy Poligrates in the 2019 Foundation Cup.

Still, the championship remains his ultimate goal.

“Marinero has never won a championship, so that’s my ultimate focus: Giving them one and making history with them,” he said.

With little to no break, both teams go at it one last time next Wednesday at the same venue for all the marbles.

Michael Phillips led EcoOil-La Salle’s revenge after a close 72-67 loss in Game 1, collaring a double-double of 18 points and 14 rebounds plus four blocks while Schonny Winston, Evan Nelle, CJ Austria and Kevin Quiambao provided support down the stretch.

Winston added 15 and Austria had 11 while Nelle and Quiambao chipped in a combined 14 markers to lift the Archers.

“We just caught them napping at the start. We came out strong. I know we’re tired as we’re playing almost every day but it’s the mindset for us,” EcoOil-La Salle coach Derrick Pumaren said.

“We just came out ready and we played our game unlike in the first game where we played tentative.”

“I’m proud of the way the boys kept their pressure. We were playing not to lose but we’re able to correct that and make big mistakes.”

With its backs against the wall, EcoOil-La Salle started like a house on fire and raced to an 18-8 lead, setting the tempo that kept Marinerong Pilipino at bay all game long.

Early in the fourth, the Green Archers were still up comfortably, 51-41, following Bright Nwankwo’s thunderous dunk before the Skippers came back and uncorked a 21-12 rally capped off by Gomez de Liaño’s booming trey in the 1:21 mark to strike within a point, 62-63.

Nelle then swished three free throws after Kenmark Carino’s foul as Quiambao hit a fadeaway dagger in back-to-back possessions to ice it for EcoOil-La Salle.

Jollo Go paced Marinerong Pilipino with 21 points as Gomez de Liaño had 14 in a tough losing effort that spoiled his MVP coronation and the Skippers’ potential title clincher.

The Scores:

EcoOil-La Salle (70) — M. Phillips 18, Winston 15, Austria 11, Nelle 8, Nwankwo 7, Quiambao 6, Manuel 5, B. Phillips 0, Nonoy 0.

Marinero (63) — Go 21, Gomez de Liaño 14, Carino 14, Pido 5, Soberano 3, Nocum 2, Manlangit 2, Agustin 2, Gamboa 0, Bonifacio 0, Hernandez 0, Bonsubre 0, Lacap 0, Garcia 0.

Quarters: 20-10, 34-26, 49-41, 70-63.

EcoOil-La Salle kept its title hopes alive, staving off Marinerong Pilipino with a feisty 70-63 win in Game 2 of the Philippine Basketball Association D-League Aspirants’ Cup best-of-three finals series Wednesday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.

The Green Archers unleashed a scorching start but needed one last stand down the stretch to hold off Marinero’s comeback attempt and drag the quick race-to-two titular showdown to a winner-take-all Game 3.

Meanwhile, Playmaker Juan Gomez de Liaño emerged as Most Valuable Player of the Conference after towing Marinerong Pilipino from being the fourth seed all the way to its second finals appearance.

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