The DLSU Green Archers ended the elimination round of the 2022 FilOil EcoOil Preseason Cup with a perfect record after dominating the CSJL Knights, 90-54, at the FilOil EcoOil Center earlier tonight, August 20.
Veteran forward Joaqui Manuel led the way for the Green Archers with 15 points, while CJ Austria poured in 13 markers and five assists. Floor general Evan Nelle had an all-around performance as he contributed 12 points, five rebounds, and six assists.
In a losing effort, King Caralipio carried the Knights in scoring with 12 points and seven rebounds. Meanwhile, Kurt Reyson and Neil Guarino both posted double digits with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
At the early juncture of the game, the Green Archers quickly picked up their momentum from their previous victories as Michael Phillips and Nelle led the way to capitalize on Letran’s lackluster defense. M. Phillips opened the scoring for La Salle with back-to-back trips to the charity stripe, along with a Nelle go-ahead triple at the 8:45 mark, 6-2.
In the latter half of the first period, the Taft-based squad began to pull away with a 5-0 run built on an Austria fastbreak layup, capped off by Nelle’s second long ball of the game. The Knights continued to struggle offensively as the Green Archers’ perimeter defense forced the team from Intramuros to settle for well-contested shots. As a result, CSJL failed to convert a single field goal up until the 6:30 mark of the first period when a Reyson jumper from the wing broke the dry spell, 15-6.
Nelle stayed hot from distance, extending DLSU’s lead once again to 12 points, 18-6, with another shot from beyond the arc. La Salle took full advantage of their high-octane blitz. The team from Taft seemed unstoppable in executing their offensive plays—highlighted by Gilas standout Kevin Quiambao’s dish to Manuel and an offensive putback to wrap up the opening frame, 30-15.
After a sluggish showing in the first period, Letran started to chip away at the deficit. The Knights wasted no time, opening the second quarter with two straight layups from Reyson and Caralipio to swiftly cut the lead to 11 at the 8:59 mark, 19-30. However, Green Archers responded by controlling the paint with blocks and offensive rebounds from big men Bright Nwankwo and Quiambao. With his side’s starters staying on the bench for the rest of the half, Quiambao once again ran the offense for DLSU with his crisp passing and consistent midrange shooting.
Manuel then came alive in the second period with eight points. The veteran forward’s second three-pointer at the 4:52 mark gave the Green Archers a 43-21 advantage. The Knights tried to muster a comeback in the remaining minutes of the half with Guarino and Reyson combining for seven points to reduce their team’s deficit, 28-45, with 1:24 before the halftime break.
But Quiambao extinguished the brave comeback attempt with three consecutive one-handed floaters, scoring all six of his second quarter points in the last three minutes. La Salle capped off their blistering start by leading, 49-30, at the halftime break.
The Green Archers kicked off the third quarter with the same offensive firepower displayed in the first half. Anchored by four consecutive triples from Austria, Manuel, and Nelle, La Salle outscored Letran, 29-10, in this period alone. The Knights’ slapdash offense was evident from the get go, only converting six percent from three-point territory in the third frame. This led the Green and White’s lead to balloon to 27 heading into the final frame, 72-45.
With La Salle fully taking control of the game in the third quarter, Letran mustered another lackluster effort in the final period as the Knights were thoroughly shut down by the Green Archers. Frustrations boiled over multiple times for the Intramuros-based squad as they were called for three unsportsmanlike fouls on three different players for committing dangerous plays in the fourth frame. DLSU continued their solid display by locking up CSJL’s players and knocking down most of their shots until the final buzzer, taking the victory in their final game in the elimination round of the Preseason Cup, 90-54.
DLSU head coach Derrick Pumaren commented on the team’s packed schedule in the past month, with La Salle competing in two ongoing separate tournaments, “I don’t think it’s a problem. We just have to play them [for] a certain number of minutes. It’s more about time management.”
“Hopefully we continue to improve. I’ve said to the boys, we’re here to become a better team so when the UAAP starts October 1, we [would] be a far better team,” Pumaren remarked.
The Green Archers hope to continue their winning ways in the preseason tournament as they face off against the CSB Blazers in the quarterfinals at 5 pm on Tuesday, August 23, at the same venue.
DLSU 90 – Manuel 15, Austria 13, Nelle 12, Quiambao 11, M Phillips 8, Buensalida 7, Cortez 7, Nwankwo 4, B Phillips 3, Montecillo 3, Estacio 3, Galman 2, Escandor 2
CSJL 54 – Caralipio 12, Reyson 11, Guarino 10, Yu 6, Bataller 6, Go 5, Ariar 2, Lantaya 2