UAAP: Green Archers’ defense caps off big offensive win over Growling Tigers 

The Green Archers’ high octane offense put them in control of their matchup over the UST Growling Tigers, 75-66, at the SM Mall of Asia Arena earlier today, April 5. However, it was their defense that allowed them to seal the deal in what was a grueling matchup.

Justine Baltazar had himself a solid all-around performance, with team-highs of 20 points and five assists. He also had seven rebounds, a steal, and a block in what was another dominant game by the senior big. 

Freshman recruit Emmanuel Galman made his first appearance for the Green-and-White with an impressive 13 points, including back-to-back three-pointers in the first period.

Kurt Lojera also provided steady contributions as usual on both ends of the floor, posting 15 points and three steals. Coach Derrick Pumaren had high praise, sharing, “The thing about Kurt is that he is able to create for us, he is able to penetrate [the defense of the opposing team]. He’s been giving us a big lift not just on the offensive end, but also the defensive end.” 

Rookie big man Michael Phillips continued his impressive domination on the inside by putting up eight points, grabbing 13 boards, and two steals on the defensive end.

Though the Growling Tigers suffered their third defeat, Joshua Fontinilla continued to impress with 20 points, together with a 20-point, 10-rebound double-double from Nicael Cabañero that kept the España-based team within reach of the Green Archers throughout the game.

Efficient first half

The Green Archers got off to a scorching start led by star big man Baltazar—showing off his offensive skill set with seven quick points. DLSU piled on the pressure by combining their suffocating defense, forcing UST into multiple empty trips down the court. The Taft-based squad ran an efficient offense which featured rookie Galman scoring eight points that carried DLSU to a 21-7 lead at the 4:05 mark in the first period. However, the Growling Tigers were able to crawl their way back—sparking their own 7-0 run to cut the deficit down to 23-16 at the end of the first quarter.

The second quarter was rather scrappy early on, with both teams carelessly turning the ball over. After Lojera’s driving layup at the 7:45 mark that gave DLSU a 28-21 lead, both teams struggled to make a basket and went scoreless for almost two minutes. However, as Baltazar made his way back onto the court, the Green Archers were finally able to break through the scoring drought, which included a pesky defensive effort against the Growling Tigers—igniting a 12-4 run throughout the final five minutes of the second period, eventually extending the DLSU lead at the half to fifteen, 42-27.

Inside Aggression

After an efficient two quarters, Galman and Baltazar picked up where they left off, each finding points inside the paint. UST also managed to find their offense—led by Fontanilla—cutting down the deficit to nine. But the game’s momentum quickly swung back in favor of the Green Archers with veteran Lojera going on a solo run with six aggressive points. 

DLSU began to run away with the game, further going on a 6-2 run capitalized by an emphatic putback dunk by recent fan-favorite M. Phillips. As the game began to slip away, the Growling Tigers went on a 6-0 run of their own. It was Nonoy, however, who had the last say in the quarter, hitting a three-pointer to end another dominant period.

The deadly big man pairing of Baltazar and Benjamin Phillips held it down for the Green-and-White, combining for eight towering points at the rim. The Growling Tigers remained relentless with their offense reignited, refusing to give in as they cut down the DLSU lead to nine. 

The Green-and-White lost their touch on the offensive end in the waning minutes of the contest. However, their defense—as highlighted by the patented Pumaren Press—forced bad possessions out of the Tigers, allowing them to leave with a 4-1 record. 

The DLSU Green Archers entered the game coming off of a bitter defeat at the hands of their rivals in the Ateneo Blue Eagles. They were looking to bounce back and earn their fourth win of the campaign. “After coming off a loss against Ateneo, the thing that I told the boys is that we gotta bounce back hard and take care of business today,” Pumaren shares.

In their winning effort, Pumaren praised Galman’s first ever start for the team, “Emman stepped up to the challenge…He was able to perform and hopefully he continues to build that confidence to really fight it out there.”

On facing UST, Nonoy shares, “At first medyo gigil, syempre, ayoko magpatalo sa former team ko. Ayun nga, medyo nagkalat [ako]. Sabi lang ni coach huwag manggigil, gawin lang ‘yung dapat na pinapagawa samin. Pero, gigil parin.

(At first I was restless. Of course I didn’t want to lose to my former team. So my play was a bit messy today. Coach told me to calm down, and to just do what I have to do. But, I still felt restless.)

The Green Archers look forward to garnering their fifth win of the season as they face the UP Fighting Maroons on Thursday, April 7, at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

The Scores: 

DLSU (75) – Baltazar 20, Lojera 15, Galman 13,  M. Phillips 8, Nelle 4, Austria 4, B. Philipps 4, Nonoy 3, Winston 2, Nwankwo 2 

UST (65)  – Fontanilla 20, Cabanero 20, Manaytay 9, Santos 9, Concepcion 4, Ando 2, Pangilinan 2

Quarter Scores: 23-16, 42-27, 61-44, 75-66

By Red Bernal

By Diego Manzano

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