FilOil: Green Archers blowout Blue Eagles, clinch preseason playoffs

The DLSU Green Archers brought their record in the 16th FilOil EcoOil Preseason Cup up to 8-0 and secured a spot in the tournament’s playoffs after thrashing the ADMU Blue Eagles, 72-59, earlier today, May 28, at the FilOil EcoOil Centre in San Juan City.

In the win, Evan Nelle shouldered the offensive load, contributing 12 points and seven assists to shake off a rough first half and lead the team to victory. In the well-rounded scoring effort, Josh David, Mark Nonoy, and Kevin Quiambao each notched 11 points. Also chipping in double-digit points was Mike Phillips, who had a 10-point, 10-rebound double-double.

For ADMU, key returnee Kai Ballungay led all scorers with 18 markers. He was the only Blue Eagle to tally double figures, while Ian Espinosa came in second with the second lead notching nine points.

Back-and-Forth affair

Looking to continue their undefeated run in the tournament, the Green and White quickly jumped ahead after inside cut plays by Jonnel Policarpio and Nonoy, 4-0. The Katipunan-based squad had trouble converting the early minutes of the game until a Joseph Obasa conversion on the line and a quick Sean Quitevis three forced an early deadlock, 4-all. Both squads used their high octane-offenses to go back and forth. Playing through Ballungay’s inside presence, Ateneo built a five-point lead after a Jacob Credo lay-in, 12-7. 

La Salle quickly got back in the game as they efficiently converted points from the backcourt duo of David and Gollena, 12-11. The Green and White’s offense found a wealth of open looks in the closing minutes of the opening quarter, but shots failed to hit the mark as they wound up trailing, 15-14. 

The second quarter started with a blistering pace as both teams traded baskets, leading to a tied ball game early on, 20-all. Offense slowed down for both teams midway into the quarter as both teams failed to convert on attempts both inside and beyond the arc. La Salle big men Ben Phillips and Policarpio put points on the board, but Ateneo answered with Obasa’s commanding presence inside and a Jared Brown three, keeping it even at 26-all. 

Wanting to enter the break ahead, the Taft-based squad leaned on the imposing two-way prowess of M. Phillips to launch a 6-2 run to gain the lead going into the half, 32-28. 

Asserting dominance 

In the third quarter, the Green Archers came out the gates strong, with Nelle drilling a three at the 9:12 mark to put La Salle up by seven, 38-28. The team captain continued to do work for the Green and White, delivering a breakaway layup before a stepback three to bring the lead to double digits, 43-32.

The Blue Eagles responded with a seven-point run to bring the lead down to four, 43-39. However, M. Phillips stepped up to the occasion as he responded with emphatic back-to-back dunks to snatch back the momentum, 47-39. To end the quarter, La Salle finished off a 12-0 run after baskets continued to pour in—courtesy of Nonoy and Nelle—before Manuel’s putback capped off the third period with La Salle up big, 55-41.

The team from Taft continued where they left off to open the final quarter of play. The pair of Nelle and Quiambao went to work and put La Salle up by 19, 62-43. Ateneo responded with a six-point run, 62-49 which ended with a three ball by Ballungay—prompting DLSU Head Coach Topex Robinson to call for time with 5:12 left to play.

Exiting the timeout, Nonoy drained a three of his own at the right elbow after a well-executed inbound play to kickstart the La Salle offense again. Picking up after him was David, whose consecutive baskets pushed the lead back to 18, 70-52. Gollena converted a putback for La Salle’s last basket of the game before the team from Katipunan went on a 7-0 run to end the game. However, the deficit the UAAP Season 85 champions faced was too big, as DLSU picked up their eighth win of the tournament to become the first team to secure a spot in the playoffs, 72-59.

Despite getting a lopsided victory over the defending UAAP champions, Robinson asserted, “This doesn’t define us winning a championship in the UAAP. Kung baga, this proves that if we keep to our guns and do the things we prepared for, good things are bound to happen.”

He gave much of the credit in the win to his players, acknowledging his senior point guard Nelle for shaking off his shooting slump to put their side up big in the second half, “What I like about Evan [is that] he’s a fighter…Kailangan fighter ka, not only in basketball but [also] in life.”

Happy with the current state of the team under Robinson, Nelle echoes similar sentiments about the team still having a long way to go, “You can see how our team’s [preseason] is going, but we’re not yet where we want to be. I think this is a really good journey.”

After this impressive victory, the DLSU Green Archers will look to end their elimination round of the tournament strong when they battle the St. Claire Saints at 4 pm on Wednesday, May 31, at the same venue.

The Scores:

DLSU 72 – Nelle 12, David 11, Nonoy 11, Quiambao 11, M. Phillips 10, Policarpio 5, Gollena 4, Escandor 3, Abadam 2, Manuel 2, B. Phillips 1, Cortez 0, Nwankwo 0, Melencio 0

ADMU 59 – Ballungay 18, Espinosa 9, Credo 7, Brown 5, Obasa 5, Padrigao 4, Amos 3, Chiu 3, Quitevis 3, Nwabude 2, Bongo 0, Garcia 0, Lazaro 0, Nieto 0

Quarter Scores: 14-15, 32-28, 55-41, 72-59

Joaquin Constantino

By Joaquin Constantino

Diego Manzano

By Diego Manzano

Leave a Reply