On their first assignment for the second round of eliminations, the DLSU Green Archers overpowered the UE Red Warriors earlier today at the Mall of Asia Arena. The Green-and-White improved to a 5-3 win-loss record, while UE remains at the bottom of the standings.
Encho Serrano and Andrei Caracut led La Salle to its fifth win of the season as they scored 18 and 16 points, respectively, while also recording five rebounds each. In addition, Leonard Santillian aided the team as he scored 13 points and seven rebounds.
In the losing effort, Red Warrior Alvin Pasaol was dominant on both ends of the court as he scored a game-high 22 points and 17 rebounds. Meanwhile, Christopher Conner was the only other player who scored in double digits, tallying 12 points and seven rebounds.
Head coach Louie Gonzales shared that before the games against UE and AdU, he told Caracut that he needed to improve as he is given a completely different role in the team, compared to the last two seasons. Coach Gonzales said, “I need him to get his confidence back kasi talaga malaki yung role niya dito sa team na ‘to.’”
Strong first half
Justine Baltazar shed first blood as he scored off a layup just 30 seconds after the start of the match. He made his presence felt in the first half as he continuously scored points not only near the basket but also at the short corners. Nonetheless, the defense of DLSU was not able to stop Pasaol as he scored a total of 10 points out of the 16 UE had in the first quarter. The Green Archers were able to keep the gap between the two teams as Santillian aided Baltazar to end the first quarter with DLSU leading by five points, 21-16.
At the beginning of the second quarter, Serrano scored off a jumper and a single free throw due to a foul committed by Conner. Kib Montalbo also played a vital role in the quarter to keep the momentum of the team alive after obtaining a rebound and driving straight to the opposite side of the court to score a layup with only four minutes left at the first half.
The Red Warriors did not give up easily as Pasaol, together with Conner, tried to lessen the deficit between the teams. UE was able to block all the attempts of the Green-and-White to score for two whole minutes and went on an 8-0 run. Nevertheless, with an assist from Aljun Melecio, Baltazar shot a layup with only 31 seconds left at the quarter to end with La Salle in the lead, 47-36.
The Lasallians had a better first half as compared to the Red Warriors with regard to their field goals and scoring off the free throw line. DLSU shot 47 percent better in field goals, compared to the 38 percent of UE’s. Also, the Red Warriors were not able to take advantage of the charity stripe at the first half, scoring zero of the two awarded to the team, while the Taft-based squad was able to score seven out of the nine baskets given to them at the free throw line.
Picking up where they left off
The second half of the game began in favor of UE as Conner scored both of his free throws due to Montalbo’s shooting foul. On the other end, Melecio also sank both his foul shots after drawing a foul from Jose Cullar. A putback layup by Pasaol capped off the 8-0 run by the Red Warriors, which reduced the lead of the Green-and-White to three points, 49-46. This prompted DLSU to call a timeout with 5:43 minutes left in the third quarter.
After the huddle, a floater from Caracut at the 5:26 mark initiated a nine-point scoring streak for the Green Archer to answer back UE’s scoring run. This increased the lead of La Salle by 12, 58-46, causing UE to call a timeout.
The Taft-based team concluded the third period on a high note following a buzzer beater by Serrano’s tip-in of his own missed shot from the original play, giving DLSU a double-digit lead at the completion of the third quarter, 66-49.
With the momentum completely on the side of La Salle, Mark Dyke converted a jumper from the corner following an assist from Caracut to extend the gap to 18. DLSU led the game at 68-50 with 9:15 minutes.
Utilizing the momentum that they had from the previous quarter, the Green Archers’ defense limited the Red Warriors to score only 10 points in the fourth period. A turnover committed by UE gave La Salle a fastbreak opportunity which was used by Serrano following a layup to attain the biggest lead of DLSU, 22 points ahead of UE, 79-59. A jumper from the Red Warriors trimmed the lead back to 20, with 14 seconds left in the fourth period. The Red-and-White failed to make a comeback as the Taft-based team sealed the win with a 79-59 victory.
After the game, Gonzalez emphasized that he’s focused on improving the team and its standings. “We want to collect as many wins as we can, regardlesskung sino yung kalaban…You don’t look at the Final Four right now, you look at kung sino yung susunod na katapat mo.”
The Green Archers will try to continue their winning ways on Saturday, October 20, at 2 pm against the AdU Soaing Falcons at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
DLSU – Serrano 18, Caracut 16, Santillian 13, Baltazar 12, Melecio 8, Montalbo 3, Manuel 3, Bates 2, Dyke 2, Corteza 2, Go 0, Capacio 0
UE – Pasaol 22, Conner 3, Varilla 3, Bartolome 6, Cullar 3, Antiporda 3, Manalang 2, Acuno 2, Sobrevega 2, Guion 0, Gagate 0, Beltran 0, Lacap 0, Strait 0
Quarter scores: 21-16, 47-36, 66-49, 79-60