The DLSU Green Archers clinched their first victory in UAAP Season 81 after a tightly contested game against the NU Bulldogs, 80-76, earlier today at the Mall of Asia Arena, Pasay City. The win gave the Lasallians a 1-1 win-loss record.
Aljun Melecio spearheaded the Green-and-White, recording 19 points, while Justine Baltazar chipped in 17 points and 12 rebounds. Leonard Santillan and Jollo Go also added 10 points each. In the losing effort of NU, Dave Ildefonso led the Bulldogs with 16 points, four rebounds, and three assists. Troy Rike and John Clemente also recorded 15 and 12 points, respectively.
Taking it slowly
The Green Archers has set the pace in the early minutes of the first quarter despite the defensive pressure of the NU Bulldogs. Efforts on the offensive side by Antonio Joson, Shaun Ildefonso, and Clemente helped NU score eight straight points to take the lead from DLSU.
Shooting fouls and turnovers by the Green Archers gave the Bulldogs a chance to increase their lead which Issa Gaye, Joson, and D. Ildefonso capitalized on, thus extending the lead by eight points. Missing open shots and committing turnovers by the Green-and-White assisted NU in obtaining a nine point lead at the end of the first quarter, 16-25.
The second quarter started with the Taft-based squad scoring eight consecutive baskets behind Santillan and Florencio Serrano. The Green Archers, throughout the quarter, played better defense, forced turnovers, and trimmed the lead of the NU Bulldogs to three, 35-38.
Comeback from behind
As the third quarter was about to begin, NU’s coach, Michael Ray Jarin, was given a technical, and Kib Montalbo an unsportsmanlike foul. This gave Melecio and D. Ildefonso a chance at the charity stripe, respectively.
Gaye of NU provided consecutive points for his team to have a six point lead against La Salle, 46-40. Nonetheless, with a steal and a fast break, courtesy of Melecio, and a putback shot from Baltazar, the Green Archers were able to cut the Bulldogs’ lead to one, 50-49. Both teams continued trading baskets with five minutes left as a total of two deadlocks were seen. The third quarter ended at 65-59 with DLSU in the lead.
The last quarter saw the determination of the Green-and-White to widen the gap between the two teams as Montalbo stole a Bulldog’s ball at the first 20 seconds of the quarter and scored off a layup. However, with the continuous turnovers from Brandon Bates and Montalbo himself, it gave the Bulldogs a chance to cut the deficit and go into a deadlock at 76-76 with only a minute left into the game.
A jumper from Baltazar with two seconds in the shot clock after a timeout, gave the Lasallians the final push to win their first match in the season. With only 10 seconds left in the game, an unfortunate foul from Joson gave Andrei Caracut two shots in the free throw line to end the game at 80-76 with the Green Archers on top.
Melecio hailed as the player of the game stated that “During first half, naka-adjust kami para malaro namin yung second half,” as his team was able to comeback after a poorly played first half. Their coach, Louie Gonzales was also thankful that his athletes did not easily give up after evidently struggling at the beginning.
The Taft-based team will be aiming to continue their winning ways as they face UE Red Warriors on September 23, Sunday, 4pm, at the FilOil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
DLSU (80) – Melecio 19, Baltazar 17, Santillan 10, Go 10, Manuel 7, Caracut 6, Montalbo 4, Bates 4, Dyke 2, Serrano 1, Corteza 0
NU (76) – D. Ildefonso 16, Rike 15, Clemente 12, S. Ildefonso 9, Joson 8, Gaye 8, Diputado 2, Gallego 2, Sinclair 2, Galinato 2, Yu 0, Aquino 0, Tibayan 0, Malonzo 0
Quarter Scores: 16-25, 35-38, 65-59, 80-76