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FilOil: Green Archers brush off stagnant start, pesky defense to record victory against Red Lions

After a third-quarter comeback, the DLSU Green Archers secured their second win in the FilOil EcoOil Preseason Cup with a victory against the SBU Red Lions, 61-53, at the FilOil EcoOil Center earlier today, July 31.

Michael Phillips led the Green and White with 14 points and 19 rebounds, followed by CJ Austria who pitched in 13 points and seven rebounds. Veteran forward Joaqui Manuel also contributed 11 points and six rebounds, while Evan Nelle made 10 points.

In a losing effort, James Kwekuteye paced the Red and White with 10 points, followed by Emman Tagle’s nine points.

Ice-cold opening 

Manuel opened the scoring for the Green Archers after converting a four-point play off a contested three, 4-0, at the 8:33 mark. Since then, both teams struggled offensively and failed to secure a bucket early on. It was only during the 5:39 mark of the first period when Kwekuteye tied the game at 4-all. DLSU piled up their turnovers and remained scoreless for the next four minutes of play. M. Phillips then ended the scoring drought by splitting his shots at the line, 5-4. After a layup by John Bahio that gave the Red Lions a one-point advantage, DLSU assistant coach Gabby Velasco called a timeout at the 1:27 mark to switch up their rotation in hopes of orchestrating an offensive flow. Unfortunately, both teams ended the opening period in a low-scoring affair with the Green Archers trailing by three, 8-5.

La Salle continued to struggle in scoring at the start of the second half. But incoming La Salle rookie Kevin Quiambao then made his presence known with a three pointer at the 7:30 mark, 10-8. Slowly picking up the pace, Austria trimmed SBU’s lead by two with a jump shot, 12-10. Red Lion Yukien Andrada then scored a layup after a DLSU turnover, followed by a Penny Estacio layup to close the gap to two, 14-12. SBU continued to capitalize on DLSU’s careless turnovers with back-to-back uncontested baskets, widening the lead to nine, 21-12. But it was Green Archer Francis Escandor who stopped the bleeding with a layup and a bonus free throw, 21-14. Aiming to close the first half on a high note, Ben Phillips drilled a much needed three at the last 15 seconds of the second period, closing down on SBU’s lead, 21-17. A late layup by JV Gallego ended the first half with the Red Lions up by six, 23-17.

Putting on the clamps

On the heels of a low-scoring first half, the Green Archers powered through with revamped intensity on the defensive end to control the momentum after the break. This led to Manuel opening the third quarter with a three pointer, adding to his then team-high seven points. Following this, DLSU proved to be mischiefs in disguise, as their pickpocketing efforts shifted the game in their favor. A run soon followed suit, with M. Phillips draining both of his freebies at the stripe to give the DLSU the lead, 25-23, with 6:50 remaining in the third period.

The Green and White’s pesky defense, supplemented by the cheers of the Animo Squad, kept rattling the Red and White. DLSU’s lead began to grow bigger, highlighted by a beautiful give and go from Quiambao to Nelle with 4:15 left in the third frame. Unfortunately for the Red Lions, they were kept at a score of 28 for the majority of the quarter, as the Green Archers’ intimidating performance on the defensive end did not let up.

Consecutive five-footers by M. Phillips, followed by an Austria fastbreak lay-in, ballooned the Taft-based squad’s lead to 11 at the 2:15 mark, 39-28. While SBU attempted a comeback, DLSU finished the third period up by five, 42-37.

Pulling through

The final quarter opened with the Red Lions exhausting their energy to rally back. Even with Austria converting an and1 off a slick feed from Quiambao to open the fourth quarter scoring, the Green Archers began to slip. This allowed back-to-back baskets from the Mendiola-based squad the lead, punctuated by Red Lion Gallego’s tough three-pointer.

Being the iron fist he is, M. Phillips’ fantastic block on San Beda’s fastbreak attempt  refocused La Salle after previously showing frustration off a couple of previous questionable calls. But from here, the Green Archers did not put their foot off the gas. Manuel scored on consecutive plays then dimed it up to Austria leading to an M. Phillips and1 to put them up by five, 50-45, with 4:15 remaining in the final period.

The Taft-based squad put the nail on the coffin in the dying moments of  the game—with Nelle, M. Phillips, and Austria making baskets to put the game out of reach for the Mendiola-based team. After consecutive missed shots by the SBU Red Lions in the final minute of the contest, they eventually yielded to the DLSU Green Archers, 61-53.

With many rookies added to their pool, team captain Evan Nelle stressed that last year’s core is doing their best to guide the newbies, “Our team is all rookies or sophomores. So, me, Mike, and other guys like Joaqui, we know what it takes to get there. We just need to guide them under Manong (Derrick).”

The Green and White now hold a 2-0 win-loss record in the tournament so far. The next contest for the DLSU Green Archers will be against the JRU Heavy Bombers at 3 pm next Sunday, August 7, at the same venue.

The Scores:

DLSU 61 – M. Phillips 14, Austria 13, Manuel 11, Nelle 10, B. Phillips 3, Quiambao 3, Abadam 3, Estacio 2, Escandor 2, Buensalida 0, Nwankwo 0, Macalalag 0, Cortez 0

SBU 53 – Kwekuteye 10, Tagle 9, Bahio 6, Andrada 6, Gallego 5, Cuntapay 4, Cometa 3, Cortez 3, Jopia 1, Llanera 2, Alfaro 0, Sanchez 0

Quarter Scores: 5-8, 17-23, 42-37, 61-53

By Koby del Rosario

By Mikaela Vallesteros

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