Defending champion EcoOil-La Salle moved a win away from a return trip to the finals after thumping hapless University of Perpetual Help System DALTA, 107-78, in Game 1 of their 2023 PBA D-League semifinals showdown on Thursday.
Mark Nonoy showed the way for the Green Archers, churning out 22 points in just 18 minutes of action while Bright Nwankwo dropped a double-double performance of 10 markers and 13 rebounds as La Salle took the series opener.
The ALTAs tried to play catch-up in the third frame with John Abis drilling a jumper to make it a 50-44 deficit for Perpetual, but La Salle had more than enough weapons in its arsenal as it held a 71-60 cushion before the payoff period.
The Taft crew then pulled away for good thanks to a 29-6 rampage that saw the Archers build a lead as high as 33, 104-71, in the final 1:29 as they never looked back since then.
Perpetual was led by Jielo Razon and Carlo Ferreras, who registered 17 and 14 points apiece while youngster Cyrus Nitura had an all-around statline of 15 markers, eight rebounds, six assists, and three steals.
La Salle will look to punch its finals ticket come Tuesday at 2 p.m. at the FilOil EcoOil Centre.—LDF, GMA Integrated News