UAAP: Green Archers rally in fourth against Tamaraws, earn seventh consecutive win

The DLSU Green Archers maintained their flawless Second Round campaign to see their record improve to 10-3 after outlasting the FEU Tamaraws, 80-70, earlier today, November 15, at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.

After putting up a shooting clinic from beyond the arc, Mark Nonoy bagged his first Player of the Game honor, as he continued his second-round scoring explosion. The shifty La Salle guard scored 15 points on five three-pointers and tallied three steals. Raven Cortez manned the paint and was the leading scorer of the team with 16 points on 64-percent shooting. Meanwhile, Kevin Quiambao finished with a quiet double-double by putting up 13 markers, 11 boards, and five assists. Evan Nelle, on the other hand, dished out 12 assists of his own and contributed a game-high four steals.

Jorick Bautista was the bright spot for FEU in the trying effort, scoring a game-high 17 points on 63-percent shooting. Pat Sleat complemented this with a balanced 11 markers, six rebounds, and five assists. Adding to the scoreboard, LJ Gonzales and Miguel Ona each had 10 points for the Tamaraws.

Staying the course

With every game vital in their hopes of gaining a twice-to-beat advantage in the Final Four, the Green Archers initially struggled to get their offense going but remained locked in defensively,  just down with 4-2 after three and a half minutes of play. La Salle’s offense finally started clicking after a strategic timeout from Coach Topex Robinson saw the Taft-based squad go on a fiery 9-0 scoring run majorly accomplished with back-to-back threes from Nonoy and Escandor. 

The Green Archers opened up a 17-7 lead with two minutes remaining in the quarter after catching fire from deep. However, just as La Salle was looking to blow the game open, FEU came roaring back, outscoring the Green Archers 11-4 in the final two minutes of the first period to cut the deficit to three, 21-18, led by Gonzales’ two shots from beyond the arc.

Still holding the momentum after their timely run, the Tamaraws remained aggressive, attacking the basket and fighting for offensive boards, leading to easy layups and attempts at the free-throw line. Sleat caught fire for FEU, scoring seven straight points, six of which came from the paint. La Salle relied on a balanced team effort to keep themselves within striking distance but, ultimately, fell behind for the first time since the opening minutes after Bautista hit a shot from beyond the arc to give the Tamaraws a 32-30 advantage with five minutes remaining in the first half. Nonoy immediately responded with another corner three to snatch back the lead for the Green and White. Although they struggled to get their usual offensive flow going, La Salle managed to attack hard, earning six straight free throws to erase a late five-point FEU advantage and contain the lead going into halftime, 41-40.

Late-game rally

Following the close first half, the Green Archers and Tamaraws saw the same back-and-forth battle in the third quarter. Both teams exhibited tight defense and run-and-gun offense, matching each other’s intensity to prevent possible runs. For every DLSU basket, FEU responded with their own, and vice versa. This resulted in a game of lead changes, with rough basketball played on both ends. Ona scored eight straight points for the Tamaraws in the process, all of which came from being open in the paint. Matching this was Nonoy, who drilled two of his threes in the third. By the end of the period, both squads had 21 points in the frame. However, La Salle was able to maintain their one-point lead heading into the final quarter.

After regrouping during the break, the Taft-based squad switched gears and showcased better ball movement and paint defense—key plays that were lacking during the first three periods. After CJ Austria cut through the FEU defense, he found Bright Nwankwo under the basket for an easy two-handed jam to kickstart the Green and White offensive rally. Including that basket, DLSU would go on a 16-5 run in a span of 5:58 minutes. The one-point lead then quickly became 14, featuring a variety of Green Archers scoring from all over the floor. Nelle made up for his cold shooting night with excellent defense and playmaking, tallying steals and assists to aid in the offensive onslaught. As the buzzer sounded, DLSU reigned superior over FEU, 80-70.

DLSU Coach Robinson gave plenty of credit to the FEU Tamaraws for providing them with a hard-fought challenge despite already being eliminated from the Final Four contention. “They really battled and kept us on our toes, and I’m just happy our players responded to the challenge of really competing, especially in the second half,” he said.

Leading scorer Cortez emphasized the importance of trusting the system. He shared, “I’m just happy na ‘yung mga ginawa ay talagang within the system. If we continue to stick to that system, talagang magtutuloy lang ang success.”

(I’m just happy that what we did was within the system. If we continue to stick to that system, the success will really continue.)

Heading to the final game of the Elimination Round against long-time rivals, ADMU Blue Eagles, Robinson was quick to downplay the fanfare and focus on the main goal. “We just want to be the better team this Saturday, whoever that team is, and it just happens to be Ateneo. It should not define how we approach that game,” he expounded.

The Green Archers will look to successfully complete their Round Two sweep as they face the defending champions, ADMU Blue Eagles, this Saturday, November 18, at 6 pm at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.

The Scores:

DLSU 80 –  Cortez 16, Nonoy 15, Quiambao 13, Nelle 7, Escandor 7, Austria 5, Nwankwo 4, Abadam 4, Policarpio 3, Manuel 3, Gollena 3, B. Phillips 0, Macalalag 0 

FEU 70 – Bautista 17, Sleat 11, Gonzales 10, Ona 10, Competente 7, Bagunu 6, Tempra 4, Torres 2, Montemayor 2, Buenaventura 1, Faty 0 

Quarter Scores: 21-18, 41-40, 62-61, 80-70

Aren Reyes

By Aren Reyes

Gab Ortiz

By Gab Ortiz

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