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La Salle battles Letran for the top 2 spot in PBA D-League

Team Standings
**Marinero-San Beda 5-1
EcoOil-La Salle 4-1
Wangs Strikers-Letran 3-2
Perpetual 3-3
CEU 3-3
PSP 2-4
xAMA 0-6
** — semis
x — eliminated

Game Today
(Ynares Sports Arena)
4 p.m. — EcoOil-La Salle vs Wangs Basketball @27 Strikers-Letran

DEFENDING titlist EcoOil-De La Salle and Wangs Basketball @27 Strikers-Letran wrangle for the No. 2 seed and the last outright semifinal ticket in the 2023 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup today at the Ynares Sports Arena in Pasig.

Game time is at 4 p.m. with the winner securing the other Final Four ticket after Marinerong Pilipino-San Beda clinched the top seed and the first semifinals bonus.

The Red Lions notched their fifth straight win against Centro Escolar University (CEU), 81-72, to finish at 5-1, leaving the Green Archers (4-1) and the Knights (3-2) in a dispute for second place.

Favor is on De La Salle University as the title holder and with an intact core but San Juan de Letran University is poised to stand tall and give its rival a run for its own money with a three-game winning streak to ride on.

Coach Rensy Bajar, who is out for a breakthrough feat in his debut year with the Knights after taking over from Bonnie Tan.

Letran lost its first two games via heartbreakers at the buzzer but recovered in time by stringing three wins in a row, none bigger than the 62-61 triumph over Perpetual to stay alive in the Top-Two race.

De La Salle, for its part, is not keen on looking far ahead regardless of their placings entering the playoffs.

“We want to focus on just getting better. It’s a building block on where we want to be.

“We’re not concerned with the standings at this point,” said assistant coach Gian Nazario in lieu of Topex Robinson.

The loser of the match will be relegated to the quarterfinals, where the third and fourth-ranked teams will enjoy win-once bonuses. Perpetual (3-3) and CEU (3-3) have yet to determine their playoff seedings as PSP (2-4) is already a lock at No. 6. — John Bryan Ulanday

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