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UAAP: CJ Austria hits game winner to down Soaring Falcons, 81-78

The DLSU Green Archers snapped their four-game skid earlier, beating the AdU Soaring Falcons, 81-78, earlier today, November 17, at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

In the close win, CJ Austria led La Salle in scoring with 16 points, followed by Ben and Michael Phillips who each chipped in 14 points to go along with nine and 10 rebounds, respectively. Mark Nonoy and Kevin Quiambao also clocked crucial minutes in the win, each tallying eight points in addition to five and four assists, respectively.

For Adamson, Joshua Yerro led all scorers, tallying 18 points to go along with five assists. Aaron Flowers chipped in 15 points while the trio of Lenda Douanga, Didat Hanapi, and Joaquin Jaymalin scored 10 points each.

Trading punches

The opening of the matchup saw both teams playing stellar defense, resulting in a scoreless game for the first two minutes. Adamson center Douanga would end the scoring drought as he dominated the post, scoring three straight baskets to put his team up early. DLSU answered with a balanced scoring attack, going on a quick 9-0 run to gain the upper hand. A surging Flowers provided six quick points off the bench for Adamson, but La Salle’s transition plays and free throw shooting were enough to keep the game tied at the end of the first, 23-all.

La Salle continued their terrific defensive play heading into the second quarter but the team was unable to capitalize in transition, failing to score off the Adamson turnovers they forced. The bench mob of La Salle checked in to give the team its desperately-needed spark, with Quiambao making slick passes and Nonoy earning extra possessions for the Green and White off steals. Power forward M. Philips supplied steady scoring, putting together a robust first-half performance for the Green Archers. Flowers continued his impressive performance for Adamson, as he scored the final field goal of the first half to put his team up by two, 42-40.

Striking the dagger

The Green Archers felt the absence of their best scorer, Schonny Winston, at the start of the second half, as they struggled to find any offense going in the first two minutes. Adamson took advantage of DLSU’s slump, going on a 9-2 run to take an early lead, 51-42. M. Philips and Quiambao immediately bolstered their team’s offense as they subbed back in by making timely plays on both sides of the floor, sparking a 7-0 run by DLSU to cut the lead to two. The Soaring Falcons dealt the final blow in the back-and-forth third quarter, with Yerro hitting a three-point bomb in the final seconds, bringing the score to 62-57 in favor of Adamson.

The Soaring Falcon hit his fourth three-pointer as soon as the final quarter commenced, but B. Philips quickly countered as he was fouled on  his first three-pointer. However, he failed to convert the and1 opportunity. Turnovers continued to plague both squads, with Adamson narrowly winning the transition battle. The older half of the Philips duo showcased his range from beyond the arc once again as he hit his second trey in the quarter, getting the Green Archers within one point of the Soaring Falcons with five minutes left in the game. The Phillips brothers came together to display their mastered dynamics in the closing minutes, with Ben hitting yet another three-pointer and Mike hustling to score a crucial tip-in. However, it was Austria who would prove to be captain clutch for the Taft-based squad, as he drained the game-winning three-pointer with no time left on the clock to give his team the win, 81-78.

DLSU head coach Derrick Pumaren shares that he was happy to see his players step up in the absence of their lead guard and MVP candidate, Schonny Winston. He explains, “We know that Deschon is not there, as I told them, it’s the next man up [mentality] for us.” 

The Green and White are set to face a tough opponent in the reigning champions next. The mentor comments on what he knows will be a tough matchup, “We’re playing the number one team, we need to be ready for them. We cannot just be happy with this win, it’s one win. We just need to prepare and really be ready for UP.” 

The DLSU Green Archers aim to spark a run for the Final Four with this win as they face the top-seeded UP Fighting Maroons next on Sunday, November 20, at the SM Mall of Asia Arena at 6:30 pm.

The Scores:

DLSU 81 – Austria 16, B. Phillips 14, M. Phillips 14, Nonoy 8, Quiambao 8, Abadam 6, Nwankwo 6, Nelle 5, Estacio 4, Macalalag 0, Cortez 0, Manuel 0

AdU 78 – Yerro 18, Flowers 15, Douanga 19, Hanapi 10, Jaymalin 10, Manzano 6, Sabandal 3, Colonia 2, Fuentebella 2,  Barasi 2, Torres 9, Barcelona 0, Magbuhos 0

Quarter Scores: 23-23 , 42-40, 67-52, 81-78

By Julio Amir Tampis

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