After a grueling exchange of points, the DLSU Green Archers notched another win and came out on top against the NU Bulldogs, 59-55, in an intense match that went down to the wire at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
Mark Nonoy had an electric debut for La Salle as he churned out 13 points, four rebounds, four assists, and three steals. After missing DLSU’s first game due to a hamstring injury, he credited his comeback to the team, their coaching staff, and their personnel, “Thankful ako na nakalaro ako sa second game…Para sa ating lahat ang panalo.”
(I’m thankful that I was able to play in our second game…This win is for all of us.)
Veteran big man Justine Baltazar was also clicking, contributing 13 points and seven rebounds to propel the team to victory. It was the rookie Michael Phillips, meanwhile, who led the Green Archers in rebounds as he corralled 11 in his second UAAP game.
For the Bulldogs, it was Michael Malonzo who shouldered the offensive load as he scored 10 points and four rebounds. Jake Figueroa also came up big as he racked up nine rebounds to accompany his nine points.
It was a slow start for the La Salle roster as shots continued to clank off the rim early in the first quarter. Head coach Derrick Pumaren was quick to call a timeout and round up the squad, consequently leading to better play and cutting NU’s lead to three, 10-7.
The Green Archers continued to capitalize on their stellar defense which led to six unanswered points from the Green-and-White. The run was spearheaded by the Kurt Lojera and Nonoy tandem, who found multiple opportunities to score. Leading by three, DLSU went into the second quarter snuffing out the Bulldogs’ offensive threat, 19-16.
Pumaren opened the second period with Lojera, Nonoy, Joaqui Manuel, and Benjamin and M. Phillips. Veteran forward Manuel opened the scoring for DLSU, finding himself open for a three-pointer on the right elbow. La Salle picked up where they left off in the first, extending their lead to 24-16 off of a Lojera layup.
NU Bulldog Malonzo answered with two straight buckets inside to carry his team’s struggling offense. But Manuel broke the game for the Green Archers halfway into the second, increasing their lead to nine. He then hit a second three-pointer and proved to be a difference maker defensively. With DLSU leading, 29-20, NU coach Jeff Napa decided to call a timeout in an attempt to halt the momentum.
Coming out of the huddle, NU went on a 10-0 run to regain the lead, 30-29, right before halftime. Figueroa found his footing to close the first half, scoring six points in the second quarter.
As the third quarter opened, it was a hot start for the Bulldogs as they scored six straight points without an answer from the Taft-based team. Determined to fight back, the Green Archers volleyed with a run of their own to come back from an eight-point deficit and tie the game at 39-all. Both teams eventually fizzled out on offense, ending the third quarter with the Bulldogs ahead, 43-42.
After trailing at the start of the second half, it was Nonoy who gave the team from Taft the boost that they needed. He singlehandedly regained the lead with seven straight points to make his mark as he debuted for DLSU. NU responded with four points of their own, but Baltazar fought back by aggressively attacking the paint for four more points to regain the lead in a back-and-forth affair.
Nonoy continued his stellar play with another three, putting the Green Archers up, 56-49. After NU had seemingly regained their footing, Baltazar utilized his incredible post moves and terrorized the Bulldogs inside. The Taft big man iced the game with five dominant points inside, including an and-1 to lock in the lead.
The Green Archers eventually walked away with their second win in Season 84 with a 59-55 win over the Bulldogs. It was the duo of Baltazar and Nonoy who sealed the deal for La Salle, with the pairing accounting for all of DLSU’s points in the fourth quarter.
Pumaren credited the win to the team’s effort on the defensive end. “It’s our defense that was keeping us there in the ball game,” he stated. “For us, defense is a weapon. We want to force the other team to throw the basketball away.”
Pumaren and the Green Archers seek to earn their third win versus a tough opponent in the FEU Tamaraws on March 31, Thursday, at 1 pm at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
DLSU 59 – Nonoy 13, Baltazar 13, Austria 10, Lojera 7, Manuel 6, Nelle 5, M. Phillips 3, Winston 2
NU 55 – Malonzo 10, Joson 9, Figueroa 9, Clemente 9, Mahinay 6, Enriquez 4, Tibayan 4, Gaye 2, Felicilda 2
Quarter Scores: 19-16, 29-30, 42-43, 59-55