EcoOil-La Salle edges Marinerong Pilipino-San Beda, draws 1st blood in D-League finals

Mark Nonoy hit four threes in EcoOil-La Salle's first win in the PBA D-League Finals. PBA Images
By John Rhey Piamonte

PASIG—After a heartbreaking loss in  FilOil Preseason Cup finals yesterday, EcoOil- La Salle pulled off a scintillating start and never put their feet off of the gas pedal to prevail over Marinerong Pilipino- San Beda, 108-82, and take Game 1 of their Best-of-3 Finals matchup for the PBA D-League Aspirant's Cup title, held at the Ynares Sports Arena, Thursday. 

Poised and determined to bounce back after suffering a defeat against the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons in the inaugural FilOil EcoOil Preseason Cup Finals on Tuesday night, the coach Michael Robinson-led Green Archers leaned on their potent transition offense, overpowering San Beda both inside the shaded area and beyond the arc. 

La Salle barged in 40 points in the paint compared to Red Lion's 26 while also shooting an impressive 16-out of-36 clip from the three-point land in the process. 

"Yesterday, we were very unfortunate pero sabi nga namin kanina sa dugout, today is a new day to represent the school again and play the game that we love," La Salle's assistant coach Gian Nazario said. 

The Taft-based Archers went off to a blazing start dropping a 13-0 bomb in the opening quarter to seize control of the contest, 18-6.

Mark Nonoy fueled EcoOil's campaign in the first half as La Salle scorched hot from beyond the arc, knocking down 11 triples that led to a 32-point advantage, 59-27. 

Reeling from a hamstring injury that limited his minutes in La Salle’s semifinal matchup against Perpetual Help, the five-foot-eight guard Nonoy paced the Archers with 16 points, draining four triples. 

"Nag adjust kami as a team. Hindi namin siya nilaro as one versus one lang. Lahat nakakahawak ng bola. Naging effective rin 'yong mga tinatakbo namin sa depensa," Nonoy stated.

San Beda entered the second half with the trio of Jacob Cortez, James Payosing, and Aaron Royo leading the 15-5 scoring run to trim the lead of the Green Archers to 16, 64-48. 

But La Salle's offense was just too hot to handle for San Beda as Kevin Quaimbao knocked down two crucial treys to stop the bleeding for the Archers. Michael Phillips capped the game with three thunderous dunks in the fourth that shattered San Beda's fightback.

Phillips topped the scoring chart after finishing with 19 points.

Conference MVP contender Quiambao added 12 markers for La Salle. 

Cortez ended with 18 points, five assists, and four rebounds for San Beda. Payosing and Royo also both contributed 13 points, in a losing effort.  

EcoOil-La Salle will look to close things out and banner its second consecutive D-League title this Monday while San Beda tries to even the series in Game 2 also at the Ynares Sports Arena.

Follow him on Twitter: @rhey_piamonte