The DLSU Green Archers followed up their 82-79 triumph over the UP Fighting Maroons by trouncing the Gilas Pilipinas – Cadet Team, 91-72, yesterday at the Filoil Flying V Center in San Juan City. “Magandang opportunity para sa amin na very young team, na ayun, mag-compete sa kanila,” said head coach Louie Gonzales after the game.
It was a sensational victory for the Green-and-White as they rallied from a 20-point deficit in the second quarter to lead by one point heading into the final canto. Kib Montalbo led the comeback as he scored 25 points while converting 7 out of 11 attempts from the three-point territory. The team captain also grabbed eight rebounds, dished out six assists, and recorded five steals in his 35 minutes of playing time.
Aljun Melecio had an impressive game as well as he posted 18 points, five rebounds, and seven assists while newcomer Kira Samuel and Santi Santillan each had a double-double as they combined for 26 points and 23 rebounds.
Kobe Paras led the Gilas Cadet with 19 points while Juan Gomez De Liaño and Arvin Tolentino each scored 14 points off the bench.
The Green Archers were sluggish in the closing minutes of their game against UP and the struggle continued in the opening quarter of their match against the Gilas Cadet. The Lasallians had a difficult time containing the offensive onslaught of their opponents as they gave up 27 points at the end of the first quarter while only scoring 14 points.
A 20-point lead was erected by the Gilas Cadet after Paras knocked down a three-pointer at the 3:56 mark of the second period. La Salle then scored 11 straight points to cut the lead down to nine points as Santillan, Samuel, Montalbo, and Gabe Capacio each contributed a point in the massive run.
Abu Tratter, former Green Archer and Gilas Cadet starting forward, stopped the run as he converted two consecutive layups to extend the lead to 13 points but Jollo Go quickly buried a three-pointer to cut the lead to 10 with 52 seconds remaining in the quarter. Santillan followed it up with two more field goals but Gomez De Liaño buried a high-arching floater to give the Gilas Cadet a 47-39 lead heading into the second half.
Tolentino converted a three-point play to begin the third quarter but it was answered by Miggy Corteza and Montalbo in the next possessions as they made a lay-up and a three-pointer respectively. It was the start of the Gilas Cadet melt down as they failed to control the outside-inside game of La Salle.
Melecio drew the defense outside as he drained two three-pointers in the final 3:38 of the third period while Samuel and Justine Baltazar dominated the paint and prevented the opposing bigs from getting the defensive rebounds. The latter finished the rally with a put-back to give the Green-and-White a 66-65 advantage at the end of the third quarter.
Paul Desiderio opened the final canto with a long two-point shot but it proved to be the last time the Gilas Cadet would hold the lead. Samuel made a tip-in and Go knocked down another three-pointer to give La Salle a 71-67 lead early in the fourth. Paras pulled-up for a jumper and his electrifying dunk at the 7:32 mark tied the game but this would be the team’s final field goal of the game.
La Salle unleashed a 20-1 run to end the game as the Gilas Cadet would only score a point courtesy of a made free throw by J-jay Alejandro. Montalbo started the run with a three-pointer and sealed the victory with three straight conversions from the three-point arc.
With a dazzling performance displayed in front of Gilas Pilipinas head coach Chot Reyes, a future call-up to the National Team might be in the books for the 5th year guard from Bacolod City. “If ever ma-invite nila ako, then that would be my dream. Pero whatever happens, focus muna ako sa UAAP. I wanna win the championship,” Montalbo responded when asked about joining the Gilas program.
DLSU’s latest victory catapulted them to first place alongside archrivals ADMU Blue Eagles in Group A of the 12th Filoil Flying V Preseason Cup. Both teams currently have an unblemished record of two wins and zero loses.
The Green-and-White will aim to win its third successive game as they face-off against the University of Perpetual Help System Dalta (UPHSD) on May 4, 4:30pm, at the same venue.
DLSU 91 – Montalbo 25, Melecio 18, Samuel 16, Santillan 10, Baltazar 6, Go 6, Dyke 4, Corteza 2, Tolentino 2, Capacio 2, Bates 0, Herrera 0.
Gilas 72 – Paras 19, Gomez De Liaño 14, A. Tolentino 14, Tratter 8, R. Rivero 6, V. Tolentino 3, Ambohot 3, Desiderio 2, Gozum 2, Alejandro 1, P. Rivero 0, Tuffin 0, Mocon 0, Tamayo 0.