COLEGIO de San Lorenzo punched a ticket to the Philippine Collegiate Champions League NCR Qualifiers final after scoring an impressive 87-80 come from behind victory over St. Clare on Tuesday at the JRU Gym.
Trailing by 16 points in the first half, the Griffins once again turned to Beninese recruit Soulemane Chabi Yo and he was certainly up to the challenge, posting 36 points, 16 rebounds and five blocks.
Chabi Yo was the lone source of offense for the reigning UCBL champions in an otherwise forgettable first half for the Griffins, before getting the needed support in the last two quarters.
Jon Formento and Gelo Sablan both came up big in the final 20 minutes, combining for 29 points.
Formento scored all of his 16 points in the second half, including a dagger three pointer with 24.3 seconds to go to give the Griffins an 83-77 lead.
Sablan barely missed out on a double-double as he finished with 16 points, 13 coming in the second half, and nine boards for the Griffins who also got a measure of revenge after the same team eliminated them in Naascu.
"This is a very important win cause I know if we lose, mahihirapan na rin kami. This St. Clare team looks like a commercial team," said San Lorenzo coach Bonnie Garcia, who raised doubts over the eligibility of several St. Clare players.
"We respect them and we challenged them. They beat us in the semifinals. Nawala yung (Jonjon) Gabriel namin (now with Kia in the PBA) but our guys just really stepped up," he added.
The Griffins await the winner of the University of the Philippines -San Sebastian match set on Wednesday at 1 p.m.
Trevis Jackson led the Saints with 16 markers as Christopher Bitoon chipped in 15 for the Naascu champions.
Aris Dionisio added 12 points but was held scoreless in the second half.