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UAAP: Green Archers stumble against Tamaraws, suffer back-to-back losses

The Archers entered the SM Mall of Asia Arena looking to secure a Fourth Final berth but bowed down to the FEU Tamaraws, 67-62, earlier today, April 26.

FEU’s sixth man RJ Abbarientos led his team’s winning effort with 21 points, 13 of which came in the first period. Xyrus Torres and Patrick Sleat contributed 14 and 10 points, respectively, in an impressive three-point shooting night for the Tamaraws.

In a losing effort, Evan Nelle led the way for the Green Archers, leading the stat sheet with 15 points, seven rebounds, and five assists. Meanwhile, Kurt Lojera finished with 10 points, seven assists, and two steals to provide much-needed buckets and tie up the game in the third period. Both guards stepped up in the loss, with the latter even returning late in the fourth after momentarily having to leave the game due to foot cramps. Team captain Justine Baltazar dropped another double-double with 13 points and 16 rebounds.

Tamaraws’ stampede 

The FEU Tamaraws started off the first quarter by playing pesky half-court defense on the  Green Archers, forcing five turnovers in the opening period. Speedy guards Torres and LJ Gonzales got it going early for the Tamaraws, each contributing two field goals with their own share of three-pointers.  Nelle provided a huge chunk of DLSU’s offense, scoring seven points and driving into the paint often to find big men Baltazar and Bright Nwankwo inside. But budding star Abbarientos came off the bench with guns blazing, scoring 13 straight points in just three minutes off a combination of three-pointers and floaters, personally matching the score of the Green Archers and ending the quarter with a 25-15 lead. 

During the second frame, both teams began running their offense through their bigs. It was a rough first four minutes for both sides, with only two field goals coming from back-to-back traded mid-range shots by Daniel Celzo and Emman Galman. Nelle came off the bench to continue his steady production, draining a three-point shot and finding Michael Phillips inside off a smooth two-man play. DLSU began to put their heads down and attack the basket to head to the line thrice.

But DLSU struggled to find their offense in the second half of the quarter, only scoring a total of four field goals. On the other hand, the Tamaraws could not seem to miss, with Torres and Sleat pouring in a barrage of shots inside and outside the arc. FEU’s bench unit was a major contributor, as they outscored DLSU’s second lineup’s contributions, 27-9. Baltazar drilled a much-needed three-point shot to end the quarter, closing the first half with a score of 42-29. 

Archers sharpen their arrows 

After struggling on both ends of the floor in the first half of regulation, the Green Archers entered the third period with their offense and defense reignited. They came out of the break with a 13-0 run, smothering FEU in the paint while stroking jumpers on the offensive end. After being down 13 at the start of the quarter, the Taft-based squad tied the game up at 42-all on a massive putback dunk by Nwankwo at the 4:11 mark of the third. 

After shooting a scorching 55-percent field goal percentage in the first half, it seemed that the Tamaraws could not buy a bucket in the third, going over half the quarter without any points. It was not until the 4:00 mark that Emman Ojuola broke the drought, finding FEU’s first two markers of the half at the line. 

The Morayta-based team struggled in the quarter with zero field goals and seven turnovers. FEU narrowly held on to their lead for most of the quarter, finding their points courtesy of free throws. However, it was DLSU’s Nelle who had the final say in the third, hitting a corner three-pointer to give the Archers a two-point lead going into the final period.

Missing the target

Torres earned FEU’s first field goal of the half on a three-pointer to open the scoring in the last frame. The lead went back and forth as both teams exchanged baskets. Rookie CJ Austria tied the ball game at 53-all in his first appearance for DLSU since the first round. The wing from the University of The East continued to attack, replying to FEU sixth man Abarrientos with a layup to tie the game again at 55-all.

The Green Archers’ young guns continued to shine in the fourth, with M. Phillips showing his motor. The center pulled down three consecutive offensive rebounds before tying the match yet again at 57 a piece with less than three minutes left in the ball game. The momentum seemed to be on the side of the Green-and-White, but the Tamaraws drained three consecutive three-pointers to go on a 9-2 run, putting them up, 66-59, with under a minute to go.

The team from Taft tried to fight back in the final two minutes, but it was too little, too late, as they fell to FEU, 67-62.

Nelle attributed the loss to their shaky start, “It was such a flat start. As coach [Derrick Pumaren] said, we can’t have a bad start, lalo na against good teams. We’ve been doing that since the start of the season [but] it hasn’t worked for us.”

Despite the Archers’ recent slide, the floor general expressed that he remains steadfast, “Sayang talaga today, kasi this was our chance to separate from everybody else. We still have Thursday and Sunday just to reach the Final Four and get number three.” 

After this outing, DLSU’s win-loss record fell to 7-5, but they still hold on to the third seed. On the other hand, FEU’s 6-6 record is enough for them to sit in fourth currently. The Green Archers are pressured to snap out of their two-game losing streak on Thursday, April 28, against a white-hot opponent in the Adamson Soaring Falcons.

The Scores:

DLSU 62 – Nelle 15, Baltazar 13, Lojera 10, M. Phillips – 7, Nwankwo 6, Nonoy 4, Austria 4, Cuajao 3, Manuel 0, B. Phillips 0, Cu 0, Galman 0

FEU 67 – Abbarientos 21, Torres 14, Sleat 10, Gonzales 9, Ojuola 4, Sajonia 3, Alforque 2, Tempra 2, Celzo 2, Sandagon 0, Bienes 0

Quarter Scores: 25-15, 42-29, 47-49, 67-62

By Ramon B. Nolasco

By Diego Manzano

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