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UAAP: Tamaraws execute wire-to-wire victory against Green Archers, 81-60

The DLSU Green Archers were sent back to fifth in the standings as a masterful performance by the FEU Tamaraws handed the Taft-based squad their sixth loss, 81-60, earlier today at the Ynares Center in Antipolo City.

Leading FEU’s scoring outburst were the duo of Kent Tuffin and LJ Gonzales as they both garnered 14 points on an effective shooting display. Wendel Comboy and Xyrus Torres were next in the order with 12 and 11 points, respectively. Tuffin also had the highest efficiency rating of any player on the court with a +23. 

In the losing effort, Season 81 Mythical Team member Justine Baltazar led the way yet again for the Green-and-White with 16 markers and nine rebounds. Jamie Malonzo also contributed with 13 points and seven rebounds, while Encho Serrano—who was still nursing an ankle injury—scored seven points in the loss.

A defensive meltdown

The FEU Tamaraws started the game with guns blazing as they converted their first 10 points inside the paint, exposing the interior defense of the DLSU Green Archers. This gave FEU an early seven-point lead at 6:55 of the first quarter, 10-3. 

Coming off the first timeout after Alec Stockton’s corner drive, the Lasallians adjusted their defense trying to subvert FEU’s quick stabs toward the basket. However, Tamaraws head coach Olsen Racela seemed to be two steps ahead by having his team opt for perimeter shots and constantly run the fast break. 

After Gonzales scored three consecutive points for the Tamaraws, Pat Tchuente added a fast break dunk in the next possession to give them a 10-point advantage, 15-5. With this display, FEU continued to exploit La Salle’s defense to their advantage. 

In his third appearance for DLSU, Donn Lim hit a quick mid-range jumper on the fast break to stop the bleeding at the 2:40 mark, 20-11. Despite the promising effort, FEU’s Hubert Cani answered back with a stepback three-point field goal. Unable to find their offensive rhythm, the Green-and-White failed to convert another basket, leading to a 16-point advantage for the Tamaraws to end the first quarter, 27-11.

It was Malonzo who shifted the momentum for his side through an and-one layup with 5:11 left in the second period. Aljun Melecio added to the offense with a turn-around floater. This caused the Tamaraws to call a timeout to break the Green Archers’ run. La Salle’s run was further damaged by a technical free throw for Far Eastern due to Melecio faking a foul when he attempted a three-point shot after the timeout.

Finding ways to end the half positively, the Green Archers went on a seven-point run. Serrano converted a three-pointer at the 2:13 mark while Baltazar converted a semi-hook shot in the next possession. The former Baby Falcon star ended the quarter with a drive-in stab to aid DLSU’s comeback efforts.   

DLSU fought back by outscoring FEU 18-13 in the second quarter, which reduced the deficit to 11 points, 40-29, heading into the second half.

Failing to make the proper adjustments 

In an opening half where La Salle failed to establish themselves on both ends of the court, the Green Archers headed into the second half hoping to find their rhythm in the game. But much like the first half, the Taft-based squad was slow coming out of the gates. The Tamaraws opened the final half of play with a 7-0 run, which was highlighted by a Tchuente dunk and capped by a Torres three-point field goal. Consequently, DLSU trailed FEU, 49-29, at the start of the third period.

Much was the same during the midway point of the third frame, as the duo of Tuffin and Comboy converted on three-pointers, giving the Tamaraws a 21-point advantage. Looking for answers, the Green-and-White continuously relied on star bigman Baltazar as he scored four points in the latter stages of the third period. 

During the last two minutes of the quarter, the team from Taft tried to claw their way back into the game with a 6-0 run that cut the deficit down to 15 points, 57-42. Melecio ended the third frame with a layup over the tough defense of the Tamaraws.

With the momentum shifting toward the Green-and-White to start the final period, Malonzo and Caracut opened with a pair of three-point field goals, but the trio of Gonzales, Tuffin, and Comboy were quick to answer with their own three-pointers. 

At the midway point of the quarter, it was clear that the game was already out of reach, but the Tamaraws still piled on—Comboy got away on the baseline for an open layup, and Tuffin converted on his fourth three-pointer of the game. 

As both teams were trading baskets to end the game, Francis Escandor’s one-for-two outing from the free throw line was the last point scored in the contest. The final score in Ynares was 81-60 in favor of the FEU Tamaraws.

The Taft-based squad was unable to shift the momentum in their favor throughout the game, as the lead had remained with FEU from tipoff until the final buzzer. Despite battling on the defensive end and returning shots of their own, the Green Archers came up lacking in Antipolo as the Tamaraws showed up well-prepared and highly-motivated to grab a win. 

FEU’s constant ball movement and fast-paced offense were unanswered by the Green-and-White, as their field goal percentage was 54.1 percent—the second best shooting performance by any team in a single game this season—and hit 13 out of 19 from the perimeter whereas the Archers shot a low 32.39 percent from the field and converted only six three-pointers out of 22 attempts.

In hopes of clinching a Final Four spot, the DLSU Green Archers are determined to bounce back against the UST Growling Tigers on Wednesday, October 23, 4 pm, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. 

The scores:

DLSU 60 – Baltazar 16, Malonzo 13, Serrano 9, Melecio 7, Caracut 5, Manuel 3, Bartlett 2, Cu 2, Lim 2, Escandor 1

FEU 81 –  Gonzales 14, Tuffin 14, Comboy 12, Torres 11, Tchuente 8, Stockton 7, Ebona 6, Cani 5, Alforque 2, Tempra 2

Quarter scores: 11-27, 29-40, 42-57, 60-81

Rain Leoncio

By Rain Leoncio

Anthony Francis Trajano

By Anthony Francis Trajano

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