In a tightly contested game, the DLSU Green Archers succumbed to the NU Bulldogs,76-80, to suffer their third loss of the season earlier today, October 19, at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
Kevin Quiambao and Mike Phillips spearheaded the scoring parade for the Green and White, contributing 15 points each that unfortunately went to naught. Meanwhile, Evan Nelle tallied an impressive double-double with 14 points and 10 assists.
On the other hand, it was a total team effort for the Bulldogs as four players tallied double digits: Steve Enriquez and John Lloyd Clemente scored 16 points apiece, Omar John earned 15 points, and John Figueroa ended with 12 points.
The game kicked off with Schonny Winston converting a free throw and M. Phillips making a floater to put the Green Archers on the scoreboard, 3-0. NU was quick to respond with a 6-0 run to take an early three-point advantage, which was erased after three consecutive conversions from DLSU and highlighted by a strong slam by M. Phillips, 10-6. However, Clemente uncorked a three-pointer that started a 7-0 run to take the lead and momentum back for his side, 13-10. To answer Winston’s pair of free throws, Enriquez drained back-to-back shots from behind the arc to stretch the NU lead to seven, 19-12, with 2:45 left in the opening quarter. Bright Nwankwo and Jake Figueroa traded baskets before Winston scored off a free throw and a layup to inch closer, 17-21. Jolo Manansala then answered back with a layup of his own to close out the quarter and earn the Bulldogs a five-point lead, 17-23.
Coming into the second frame, the Green Archers got off to a better offensive rhythm with Nwankwo and Penny Estacio immediately draining a jumper and a triple, respectively, to cut the deficit down to one, 22-23. Enriquez retaliated with a three-pointer of his own as teams went on to exchange baskets, marked by two Quiambao floaters and a layup by both Bulldogs Galinato and Malonzo, 26-30. Nelle buried a three-pointer to further rally his team, to which Baclaan countered with a triple of his own. However, the Green Archer was quick to return the favor by making another shot from deep, 33-32. The scoring showdown pushed until the 3:33 mark when Nelle converted two straight fastbreak opportunities to tie the game, 37-all. M. Phillips then sent in a floater to finally regain the lead by two. With 49.2 seconds left in the second quarter, Enriquez scored on a three-point play for NU to retake the lead, but it easily disappeared after a Cortez layup gave DLSU a narrow advantage at the end of the first half, 41-40.
After a heated back-and-forth offensive display from both teams in the first half, the trio of Abadam, M. Phillips, and Nelle sparked an inspired 8-0 run with fastbreak layups and offensive putbacks to give DLSU a nine-point advantage in the early juncture of the third quarter, 51-42. This has been the pattern thus far for the Green and White this season, having always regained their composure during the third frame of their past games.
With DLSU up 54-47 at the 4:30 mark, the momentum swiftly shifted back to the Bulldogs as John hit an emphatic slam dunk, 54-49. Subsequently, this led to NU hitting consecutive baskets from Figueroa and Patrick Yu which gave the team from Sampaloc a one-point advantage, 56-57. Both teams then traded baskets throughout the duration of the penultimate period, capped off by Quiambao burying a floater down the middle, 63-61, to hand La Salle a two-point cushion.
The final frame had a contrasting start, however, as both schools had a hard time converting baskets in the first two minutes. NU bigman John answered back with a low post basket, while M. Phillips brought the same energy with a vicious slam and forced turnover on the Bulldogs, with NU still leading, 65-58.
Winston, who shot 25 percent from the field on 12 attempts, was struggling to find his rhythm throughout the game. With four minutes left and frustrations piling up for the California native, DLSU lost a crucial piece of their offense as the star guard recorded his fifth foul and was subsequently ejected from the court.
Breaking the dry spell for the Green and White, Quiambao catapulted a pivotal triple off of a Manuel handoff to cut the deficit to three, 76-79, with 56 seconds left in the game. The Bulldogs failed to ice the game after a missed attempt by Enriquez, which led DLSU head coach Derrick Pumaren to call a timeout. Despite the chance to regroup, Quiambao failed to convert another triple in an attempt to the game and send it to overtime. Unfortunately for La Salle, NU then made a free throw to seal the game, 76-80.
The DLSU Green Archers hope to cap off the first round by returning to their winning ways against the Adamson Soaring Falcons at 4 pm on Saturday, October 22, at the Ynares Sports Center.
NU 80 – Enriquez 16, Clemente 16, John 15, Figueroa 12, Malonzo 6, Baclaan 5, Yu 4, Galinato 2, Manansala 2, Mahinay 2, Minerva 0, Palacielo 0, Tulabut 0, Tibayan 0, Padrones 0
DLSU 76 – Quiambao 15, M. Phillips 15, Nelle 14, Winston 12, Abadam 7, Nwankwo 4, Manuel 3, Estacio 3, Cortez 2, B. Phillips 1, Escandor 0
Quarter Scores: 23-13, 40-41, 61-63, 80-76