ECOOil-La Salle made shortwork of Wangs Basketball @27 Striker-Letran, 102-79, and secured its place in the semifinals of the 2023 PBA D-League Aspirants' Cup at the Ynares Arena in Pasig City.
Kevin Quiambao scored 13 points, pulled down five rebounds and dished three steals in the first half to orchestrate La Salle's breakaway and dashed whatever hopes the Knights had entertained to get to the Final Four via the short route.
The reigning champs finished the eliminations with a 5-1 record and joined semifinalist-in-waiting Marinerong Pilipino-San San Beda, which also wrapped up its elims campaign with a similar slate.
Under the tournament format, the top two teams at the end of the elms earn direct passage in the semifinals.
"We're lucky to be in the semis. It's about time to reward the boys for the hardwork they're doing but it's still part of the process," said deputy mentor Gian Nazario.
"We know there will be ups and downs, swerte na nasa semis kami but we still have a lot of things to work on."
Quiambao eventually finished with 28 points and 13 rebounds while Prince Alao and Mike Phillips added 10 and nine points, respectively.
Reyson tallied 21 points, four boards and seven assists for the Knights.
La Salle made a quick impression that it is determined to emerge triumphant by pulling ahead early, 21-7.
Letran responded and pulled within six but the Archers, with Quiambao, Mark Nonoy and Joaqui Manuel at the firing end, uncorked a 30-13 run for a commanding 55-32 advantage at the turn.
Letran never recovered.
All is not lost on the Knights, though.
Letran finished the elimination round tied with University of Perpetual Help System-Delta and Centro Escolar University with similar 3-3 records and, in the process, earned a twice to beat advantage in the quarterfinals along with the Altas on the strength of a superior quotient.
Computations of games involving the three squads ranked the Altas as the third seed with 1.149 quotient, followed by the Knights (0.961) and the Scorpions (0.921).
The quarterfinals starts on Tuesday at the Paco Arena in Manila with Perpetual taking on the PSP Gymers at 2 p.m. and Letran facing CEU at 4 p.m.(JBU)
EcoOil-La Salle 102 - Quaimbao 28, Alao 10, M. Phillips, 9, Nonoy 8, Manuel 7, Escandor 7, Nwankwo 6, Abadam 6, B. Phillips 5, Cortez 4, Macalalag 4, Estacio 4, Gollena 3, David 1.
Wangs Strikers-Letran 79 - Reyson 21, Monje 16, Santos 14, Cuajao 7, Bojorcelo 6, Fajardo 5, Javillonar 4, Tolentino 3, Laquindanum 2, Go 1, Brillantes 0, Alarcon 0, Ariar 0, Guarino 0.
Quarterscores: 27-19, 55-34, 75-55, 102-79.