The DLSU Green Archers suffered their first loss of the season against arch rivals ADMU Blue Eagles, 74-57, earlier today, April 2, at the SM Mall of Asia Arena. The team from Taft now holds a 3-1 win-loss record midway through the first round of UAAP Season 84.
Angelo Kouame led the way for Ateneo, scoring 16 points, 19 rebounds, and two blocks, earning him the Player of the Game plum. Dave Ildefonso also chipped in 12 points, five rebounds, and two assists, while Gian Mamuyac tallied 11 points, six rebounds, and six steals.
In a losing effort, rookie center Michael Phillips topped the Green Archers in scoring with 13 points, 10 rebounds, and three blocks. Mark Nonoy and Evan Nelle both scored double digits with 12 and 10 points, respectively.
The Green Archers suffered a rocky start as they found themselves in a difficult situation stopping Kouame inside the paint. The Atenean big man scored back-to-back baskets inside, followed by a three-pointer from Gian Mamuyac to build a five-point lead for the defending champions, 7-2. The Blue Eagles continued to score inside despite Bright Nwankwo’s put back. To combat ADMU’s raging offensive storm, the inside presence of M. Phillips helped La Salle to slowly inch back against an early lead from their rivals. The Green-and-White closed out the first quarter with Nonoy’s three pointer, cutting the lead to five, 16-11.
A sign of hope
DLSU became more aggressive in attacking from inside the paint in the second quarter. M. Phillips opened the quarter with an emphatic putback slam, but Kouame answered back with a hook shot on the other end. Nonoy picked up the pace by drawing a foul to cut the lead down to three, 18-15.
The team from Taft started to tighten up their defense at the end of the first half, with M. Phillips scoring nine of his 11 first half points in the second period. The Green-and-White ended the quarter with an 11-5 run spearheaded by a couple of jumpers from Justine Baltazar and Nonoy. DLSU’s defensive presence never left, as emphatic blocks coming from Baltazar and M. Phillips aided in bringing down ADMU’s lead to three, 35-32.
Dreadful second half
Coming off a high-octane blitz from La Salle in the second quarter to trim the lead to single digits, Chris Koon opened the scoring for Ateneo with a three from the wing at the 9:37 mark. Nelle and M. Phillips answered back with a pull-up three and a hookshot, respectively, to cut the deficit to five, 40-35.
Ateneo was starting to pile up turnovers in the opening minutes of the third frame, but the Taft-based squad had consistently failed to convert their steals into fastbreak points. As a result, the game saw little action until the Blue Eagles went on a 10-0 run built on Tyler Tio’s back-to-back threes, capped by Mamuyac hitting two out of three from the charity stripe. DLSU head coach Derrick Pumaren was forced to call a timeout as the lead extended to double digits in favor of Ateneo, 52-41.
The Green-and-White failed to make jumpshots as Ateneo’s perimeter defense forced DLSU to shoot well-contested shots. Another evident weakness of the Green Archers came at the free throw line, with La Salle missing six in the third quarter alone. On the other hand, Ateneo maintained their offensive dominance in the paint as Kouame spearheaded their biggest lead yet, heading into the final frame, 58-45, with a putback.
The final period saw Ateneo open the charge with Ildefonso converting a fastbreak layup—coming off an assist from SJ Belangel at the 6:50 mark—to balloon the lead to 16 points, 61-45. Deschon Winston and Kurt Lojera tried to cut ADMU’s lead with a rally of their own after five straight points. However, Ateneo was not willing to back down as they proceeded to capitalize on the offensive end. With 2:42 left in the game, the fatal blow came from Belangel’s layup that stretched his team’s lead to 17 points, 69-52.
With Ateneo’s bench outscoring the starting unit of La Salle the whole game, the Blue Eagles walked off with the win, 75-54, to hand over the Green Archer’s first loss of the season.
Pumaren commented on his team’s performance, “We just gave up. That’s the way I see it…There [were] a lot of forced shots. We were not disciplined offensively.”
“The most important thing is that we bounce back on Tuesday,” he projected.
With a three-game winning streak broken, the DLSU Green Archers hope to return to the winning column in a matchup against the UST Growling Tigers at 10 am on Tuesday, April 5, at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
DLSU (57) – M. Phillips 13, Nonoy 12, Nelle 10, Lojera 9, Winston 6, Baltazar 5, Nwankwo 2, Manuel 0, Austria 0, B. Phillips 0
ADMU (74) – Kouame 16, Ildefonso 12, Mamuyac 11, Belangel 8, Tio 6, Koon 6, Chiu 6, Andrade 3, Verano 2, Padrigao 2, Lazaro 2
Quarter Scores: 16-11, 35-32, 58-45, 74-57