The DLSU Green Archers lost a close overtime affair versus the FEU Tamaraws, 71-67, in the semifinals of the FilOil EcoOil Preseason Cup at the FilOil EcoOil Centre earlier today, August 25.
In a valiant effort, Kevin Quiambao led La Salle with 13 points and four assists. CJ Austria posted an all-around performance with 11 points, seven rebounds, and four assists, while Michael Phillips chipped in 10 points and five swats.
In FEU’s comeback victory, Tchuente Kamdem dominated the paint, scoring 19 points along with eight boards and three blocks. Meanwhile, star guard LJay Gonzales orchestrated the Tamaraws’ offense with 13 points and nine dimes.
Pushing the tempo
DLSU came out of the gates running with effective offensive sets, with the Phillips brothers contributing a bucket each to quickly give them the lead, 4-0, at the 8:00 mark. After falling behind early, FEU answered with a 7-0 run, capped off by a Xyrus Torres fastbreak layup with 6:29 left in the first quarter. Since then, the Green Archers struggled to find the bottom of the basket, going nearly four minutes without a made point until Quiambao converted a floater at the 4:06 mark.
Coming off the bench, second stringers Quiambao, Bright Nwankwo, and Austria provided a spark and turned the game in favor of the Green and White. The trio brought energy to both sides of the floor, sparking the Taft-based squad to a 12-2 run. This was highlighted by a Nwankwo putback dunk with 46 seconds left in the opening period. Despite struggling on offense early in the match, the signature press of DLSU head coach Derrick Pumaren allowed his side to take the lead, 16-9, entering the second quarter.
The team from Taft squad continued to find success with their press as Evan Nelle’s and Austria’s fastbreak layups ballooned their lead to as much as 10 at the 5:55 mark of the second frame. After experiencing their biggest deficit of the game, the gutsy team from Morayta fought back and sparked a 10-2 run to make it a one-possession game with 1:55 left in the second period. California-native Schonny Winston nailed a midrange jumper to bring La Salle’s lead back to four, 26-22. The two sides exchanged buckets in the final two minutes of the first half as DLSU managed to escape into the break leading against FEU, 31-28.
Neck in neck
Off the break, DLSU struggled on the defensive end at the start of the third frame, allowing two easy layups in the paint for FEU. La Salle’s advantage dwindled to as little as one, 33-32, after a James Tempra layup at the 6:11 mark. With both their hopes of reaching the finals on the line, neither team backed off, exchanging baskets yet again within the arc. However, Quiambao’s three-point play and Nelle’s fastbreak layup gave the Green Archers some much-needed breathing room, 46-39, with 2:34 left in the third period. In the final two minutes of the frame, both teams endured a rough sequence of events. But the Tamaraws had the final say in the quarter with a Aeron Bagunu three-pointer before the buzzer, 46-42.
Early into the fourth quarter, the game seemed poised to go down the wire. FEU looked to Gonzales to shoulder their offensive load, as he answered DLSU with basket after basket before Royce Alforoque tied up the affair at 50-all with 5:39 left in the fourth period. Both teams proceeded to grind it out in the paint, with Quiambao providing the Green and White with some separation, 58-54, with 1:29 left in regulation after a hookshot. FEU guard Gonzales came up clutch yet again for his side, converting a floater to trim DLSU’s lead and make it a one-possession game. Down the stretch, M. Phillips was fouled twice and made three of four free throws to put the Taft-based team up, 59-56. After struggling for most of the game, Tamaraw John Sajonia nailed a clutch trey with 40 seconds left on the clock to tie the ball game. Kamdem then proceeded to convert a jump shot before Nelle found M. Phillips for an open game-tying basket, 61-all, to force overtime.
The team from Sampaloc swiftly jumped to a four-point lead in overtime, courtesy of baskets from Kamdem and Alforque, 65-51. Despite struggling all game, Winston stepped up for La Salle by single-handedly tying up the ball game through a pair of made free throws and an acrobatic layup. However, FEU main man Gonzales was not one to shy away from shining during crunch time, as he exchanged baskets with Quiambao before his missed jumper was put back in by Torres, 69-67. Down by two with under a minute left in the game, DLSU failed to execute offensively and fell short in the end. Torres iced the game with two free throws to hand DLSU their first loss of the tournament. The gutsy Tamaraws will face the undefeated NU Bulldogs for the FilOil Preseason Cup crown.
On the other hand, the DLSU Green Archers cap off their 2022 FilOil EcoOil Preseason Cup with a bronze finish as the AdU Soaring Falcons will miss the battle-for-third matchup on Saturday due to unavailability.
DLSU 67 – Quiambao 13, Austria 11, M. Phillips 10, Winston 9, Nwankwo 8, Nelle 6, B. Phillips 4, Manuel 4, Cortez 2, Escandor 0, Nonoy 0, Blanco 0, Macalalag 0, Galman 0, Estacio 0, Buensalida 0
FEU 71 – Kamdem 19, Gonzales 13, Alforque 10, Torres 8, Sajonia 6, Bagunu 5, Sandagon 4, Guibao 4, Tempra 2, Songcuya 0, Celzo 0, Ona 0, Grevera 0, Añonuevo 0, Dulatre 0, Sleat 0
Quarter Scores: 16-9, 31-28 ,46-42, 61-61, 67-71