The DLSU Green Archers tallied their second win in a row after a dominant display against the Red Warriors, 82-72, held in the FilOil Flying V Arena. The win gave the Lasallians a 2-1 record which as a result, tying them with Ateneo and FEU for second in the standings.
When asked if he was happy about how the game went, head coach Louie Gonzales said, “I’m happy with the result nung 38 minutes, but how we ended it up, [no].”
It was an all-around effort from the Green Archers as 11 players scored, with four of them in double digits. The Green-and-White were led by the duo of Aljun Melecio and Justine Baltazar who had 16 points each, followed by Encho Serrano and Jollo Go who had 11 and 10 points, respectively.
With the departure of Ben Mbala, Abu Tratter, and Prince Rivero from last season, Baltazar is now receiving heavy minutes, and Gonzales stated that he has challenged the former NU Bullpup to step-up for the team. “I know this kid is just waiting for his time eh, and this is his time.”
In the losing effort of the Red Warriors, Alvin Pasaol was dominant on both ends of the court, recording 22 points and eight rebounds, while Jason Varilla and Philip Manalang also chipped in with 14 and 11 points, respectively.
Shaking off the slow start
The Green Archers started the game slowly after missing several shots and trailed the Warriors by five points to none. DLSU relied on their defense and outside shooting to crawl back into the game, as shades of their Mayhem defense were seen in the first period. The Lasallians were able to bounce back as the pair of Melecio and Baltazar spearheaded the team, scoring six points each during the opening quarter of the game. The first period concluded in favor of the Archers, 21-14.
The team from Taft started to pull away in the second quarter, as Melecio ended the first half with 12 points, converting four three-pointers. The Green Archers also showed their defensive prowess as Kib Montalbo and Serrano both contributed steals that led to converted baskets. Outside shooting and defense were key to La Salle outscoring the Red Warriors in the first half, as the former sealed the score at 39-27, securing a 12-point lead before the second half.
DLSU fending off UE’s rally
La Salle opened the third period with six unanswered points, highlighted by a three-point play by Mark Dyke off an assist by Andrei Caracut. Jason Strait converted a field goal in the next possession to stop the 6-0 run, but Dyke quickly answered with another close range shot to make it 47-29. Philip Manalang hit a three-pointer at the 7:34 mark, but Melecio and Miggy Corteza combined for five points to give La Salle their biggest lead of the game at 52-32, with 4:05 remaining in the quarter.
Varilla scored seven of the Red Warriors’ next 13 points to cut the lead of the Green-and-White to 14 points, 59-45, at the end of the third quarter. During that span, La Salle only converted two field goals as they struggled to score while UE started to mount a comeback.
At the start of the final canto, Baltazar and Go each made a pair of free throws to extend the lead to 62-45 at the 8:55 mark. Manalang converted a four-point play in the next possession to answer the free throws of the Lasallians, but a tip-in and a three-pointer by Serrano with 5:46 remaining in the quarter momentarily stopped the momentum of UE.
With the lead almost back to 20 points, the intensity of the Green Archers went down as the Red Warriors capitalized on this and unleashed a 16-7 run to cut the lead to 10 points, 77-67, with less than two minutes left in the game. Pasaol almost single-handedly led the Red Warriors to a stunning victory, but his 17 fourth quarter points was not enough to complete the comeback.
“Di lang ako naging masaya how we ended up. We were controlling everything up to the third quarter…‘di namin natapos ng maganda eh. At this point we really cannot afford [to have] meltdowns, especially sa ganun, last minute,” Gonzales shared after the game.
(I was not happy with how we ended up. We were controlling everything up to the third quarter…we didn’t finish it well. At this point we really cannot afford [to have] meltdowns, especially during the last minute.)
La Salle will play their fourth game of Season 81 against the UP Fighting Maroons on Sunday, September 30, at 2pm in the Mall of Asia Arena.
DLSU – Baltazar 16, Melecio 16, Serrano 11, Go 10, Caracut 9, Santillan 6, Dyke 5, Bates 3, Corteza 2, Manuel 2, Montalbo 2, Capacio 0
UE – Pasaol 22, Varilla 14, Manalang 11, Bartolome 6, Maloles 5, Cullar 4, Gallardo 4, Acuna 2, Lacap 2, Strait 2, Antiporda 0, Beltran 0, Guion 0
Quarter scores: 21-14, 39-27, 59-45, 82-72