The DLSU Green Archers fell short against the UP Fighting Maroons, 61-67, earlier today at the Mall of Asia Arena. La Salle now holds a 2-2 win-loss record, while UP improves to 2-3.
Bright Akhuetie of the UP Fighting Maroons was dominant on both ends of the court, recording 19 points, 19 rebounds, and three assists. Ju. Gomez De Liaño and Paul Desiderio also chipped in 17 and 12 points, respectively.
In the losing effort of La Salle, Justine Baltazar finished with 13 points, 10 rebounds, and three blocks. Aljun Melecio and Santi Santillan also added 12 points each.
“Syempre this is the first game without Kib. I expect to sit down again with Encho, Jollo, and the rest of the smalls na they have to unload konting responsibility from Aljun and Andrei because they’re only humans, napapagod din,” says head coach Louie Gonzalez with regard to the open spot for the leadership role in the team.
Slow first half
Melecio and Baltazar led the way for the Green Archers, scoring a total of eight points in the first half, while Desiderio contributed nine points for the Fighting Maroons. It was a close scoring half, as both teams traded basket after basket. Akhuetie heated things up for the team from Diliman after a dunk at the 7:33 mark. Baltazar answered back with a layup a minute later, followed by a Santillan putback. With a slow start for both teams, Andrei Caracut beat the first period buzzer with a mid-range jumper to close the quarter at 13-12, UP narrowly leading DLSU.
Entering the second quarter with a one-point lead, Javier Gomez De Liaño wasted no time increasing UP’s lead to four, with an assist by from his brother, Ju. Gomez De Liaño. Mark Dyke and Encho Serrano cut UP’s lead back to one after the former shot both free throws, followed by a fastbreak layup from the latter.
At the 4:33 mark, La Salle finally led the game, 23-19, as Baltazar converted consecutive baskets, while Melecio scored off a three-pointer. Desiderio tried to take over La Salle with his own consecutive three-pointers but it was not enough as the second quarter was still in La Salle’s favor. The Green-and-White came out on top at the end of the first half holding on to a four-point lead, 33-29.
A half of runs
Going into the second half, the Green Archers were leading the Fighting Maroons by four points. The Maroons, however, were able to execute a quick turnaround which saw the Archers succumb a ten to nothing run, which was led by the Gomez De Llaño brothers who both contributed to seven of the ten points in the said run. After a series of runs by the team from Diliman, this saw the Green Archers trail 43-51 headed into the fourth.
At the start of the fourth quarter the Green-and-White saw themselves trailing UP by as much as fourteen points after yet another run. This forced the Archers to call a timeout at the 7:16 mark. After the timeout, Coach Louie put on a big lineup which fielded Brandon Bates, Santillan, and Baltazar all together.
This lineup proved to be the difference for the Archers as this lineup was able to propel La Salle to a thirteen to nothing run and was able to cut the deficit to a single point. When asked if we would see more of this lineup, Gonzalez shared, “Like naman what I’ve said, we’re gonna be a team of variations, it’s gonna be different combinations kung ano ang kailangan, gagawin natin. If it’s needed again and if I need to do it for us to win games then, yeah, we will do it, and we are ready to do that.”
The runs of the game proved to be the difference for both the Maroons and the Archers. The latter suffered a couple of runs in the second half which proved to be their downfall, Gonzalez stated, “Yung third quarter is really crucial kase dun ko rin na–miss si Kib, medyo pagod na rin si Aljun at Andrei. So yung nag-fafacilitate nung offense natin, tapos binubunggo pa sila ng UP so it’s really big kasi kung meron pa tayong isang body, we could’ve done better. Dapat mas naging control tayo dun, mas na-handle yung situation ng mas maganda.”
(The third quarter is really crucial because it’s where I missed Kib, Aljun and Andrei were already tired. From facilitating our offense, and then UP has been using their bodies to bump them, so it’s really big because if we had one more body, we could’ve been better. We should’ve been in control more there, [we] should’ve handled the situation better.)
As a result of all the runs UP made and despite the run DLSU made late in the fourth, the Lasallians fell short in their comeback and lost to the UP FIghting Maroons at 61-67.
La Salle will look to make a comeback in their next matchup against the UST Growling Tigers this Wednesday, October 3, at 2pm, in the same venue.
DLSU 61 – Baltazar 13, Melecio 12, Santillan 12, Caracut 9, Dyke 8, Go 5, Serrano 2, Bates 0, Capacio 0, Corteza 0, Manuel 0
UP 67 – Akhuetie 19, Ju. Gomez De Liaño 17, Desiderio 12, Ja. Gomez De Liaño 7, Manzo 6, Dario 2, Tungcab 2, Vito 2, Gozum 0, Jaboneta 0, Lim 0, Murrell 0, Spencer 0
Quarter scores: 12-13, 33-29, 45-51, 61-67