Johnsherick Estrada took charge in the final frame as Adalem Construction-St. Clare escaped a gritty Builders Warehouse-UST 87-86 to clinch a spot in the playoffs of the 2022 PBA D-League Aspirants’ Cup on Thursday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Johnsherick Estrada (PBA Images)

Estrada dropped 13 of his 21 points in the payoff period as he helped the Saints fend off a late fightback from the Growling Tigers spearheaded by Sherwin Concepcion to list their third win in five games.

Estrada added eight rebounds and five assists to cap a stellar showing while getting ample support from the likes of Joshua Fontanilla who scattered 17 points and seven rebounds and John Edcel Rojas who added 16 points.

After trailing by as many as 15 points, 38-23 in the first half, the Saints got their bearings going in the fourth quarter where they managed to build their own biggest lead at 76-65. Refusing to go down without a fight, the still winless UST embarked on a 10-0 run to climb its way back to the game and cut the lead down to just one, 76-75, with 3:41 left.

Timely hits from Rojas, Estrada and Gelo Sablan kept St.Clare afloat in the final frame as Concepcion drilled a late trey which resulted in the final tally of the match.

Concepcion paced the Tigers with 19 points while Kean Baclaan added 14 but were not enough as UST remained winless through four games.

Source: Manila Bulletin (