UAAP 84: DLSU Green Archers bow yet again to undefeated ADMU Blue Eagles

The Mall of Asia Arena became the battleground for archrivals DLSU Green Archers and the ADMU Blue Eagles, earlier tonight, April 12, with both teams squaring off. The Taft-based squad looked to get their first win against the defending champions, who still hold a 33-game winning streak, but failed and succumbed to a loss. 

The Blue Eagles, who seemed to have found their groove after finishing 7-0 in the first round, was led by SJ Belangel with a 15-point outing in what turned out to be the battle of the ages. Chipping in this much-awaited win were Gian Mamuyac who also put in 15 points, and Dave Ildefonso with nine.

Despite the high-scoring affair, Kurt Lojera’s 21-point game was not enough to overcome the Blue-and-White. Even with Evan Nelle torching the basket early in the game and ending with 20 points, the Eagles were just too tough to come by.

All out feud

Ildefonso opened the game with a pull up jumper to put Ateneo on the scoreboard, but Deschon Winston answered back for the Green Archers with his own bank shot. Addressing the foul trouble plaguing DLSU early on, Baltazar drained a three-pointer in the 7:01 mark to set the tone for his squad, 7-10                               

A Nelle jumper closed the gap at 15-all at the last three minutes of the first. The Green Archers rattled the Katipunan offense, but costly turnovers and cheap fouls allowed ADMU to pull ahead, 18-21, to end the first quarter. 

Despite the gruesome opening period, the second quarter became a tight-knit affair, with the Green Archers sharpening their defensive efforts. Without sending anyone to the charity line, the Nelle-Lojera combo became the go-to for the Green Archers with a three-pointer and sideline jumper in the 6:37 mark, 25-24. 

Trying to close out the Eagles, who looked like they lost rhythm in the quarter, the Lojera wild floater in the 1:24 mark tied the game at 32-all and fueled Ildefonso to make a tough hook in the paint—giving the Eagles a three-point advantage to end the first half. 

Not enough firepower

The second half started strong with both teams trading baskets. A display of aggressive defense was evident with Nelle and Winston hounding Ateneo’s guards the whole frame. However, open baskets in the paint proved to be an advantage for the Blue Eagles, with Verano converting a layup in the 7:18 mark of the third period. After another steal, Nelle sprinted hard off another one to make an electric wraparound layup with 6:44 left. But this was followed by five straight points from the Blue Eagles. 

The Katipunan-based squad had an answer for every run made by the Green Archers, purely through playing smart basketball and by getting everyone involved. 

Verano and Belangel each made three-pointers to fire up the Blue Eagles, managing to build a huge 53-38 lead with four minutes to go in the third. DLSU continued to struggle gaining a rhythm on offense, forcing coach Derrick Pumaren to call a timeout after another open basket by Ateneo. 

“We warned our guys. Again, in the third quarter, we started making a lot of mistakes. We missed easy baskets,” Pumaren stressed after the game, as Ateneo outplayed La Salle in the third frame, completely similar to their matchup in the first round. 

Mark Nonoy and Lojera made tough baskets, putting up a valiant effort to cut the deficit, but Ateneo still led, 60-47, entering the fourth. 

In the final period, Lojera bagged four straight points by the 8:19 mark. However, the Blue Eagles did not give up runs without answering back. Veteran Atenean Mamuyac converted steady baskets throughout the quarter, majority of which were open layups from the fastbreak. 

With 5:18 left in the game, DLSU entered a timeout struggling to find open looks. La Salle floor general Nelle continued his hot shooting, draining a three in the 4:00 mark. 

It was all too late, however, as the Green Archers failed to build a huge run with two minutes to go, ultimately losing the game, 75-68. 

Despite showing up with 20 points in a coveted Ateneo-La Salle matchup, Nelle recognized what went wrong for the Green Archers in the second half. “We were in the game [pero] kinapos sa third quarter, bumigay kami.” With the Blue Eagles’ offense spearheaded by Belangel and Mamuyac, Nelle admitted that it was difficult to chase Ateneo’s backcourt. “Nakakapagod. We really need to step up our defense. It was tiring but…Next time. Next time.”

(We were in the game but we fell short in the third quarter, we caved in…It was tiring to chase their guards.)

After tonight’s matchup, Ateneo moved up to a 8-0 record, while La Salle fell to 5-3 to start the second round. The Taft-based squad longs to earn a better spot on Tuesday, April 19, against the UST Growling Tigers in the same venue.

The Scores:

DLSU 68 – Lojera 21, Nelle 20, Winston 10, Baltazar 10, M. Phillips 3, Nonoy 3, Manuel 1, B. Phillips 0, Cuajao 0, Nwankwo 0

ADMU 75 – Belangel 15, Mamuyac 15, Ildefonso 9, Andrade 9, Kouame 7, Tio 6, Verano 4, Koon 4, Daves 4, Chiu 2, Lazaro 0, Mendoza 0

Quarter Scores: 21-18, 35-32, 60-47, 75-68

EDITOR’S NOTE: April 13, 2022
The date for the game against the UST Growling Tigers has been corrected. The publication apologizes for the oversight.

By Miguel Robles

By Joaquim Antonio Arquelada

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