UAAP: Green Archers see nine-game run snap at the hands of UP in Finals Game One

The DLSU Green Archers suffered a blowout defeat under the hands of the UP Fighting Maroons, 97-67, in the first game of the UAAP Season 86 Men’s Basketball Finals—breaking their 9-0 win streak. 

In the trying effort, Mike Phillips was the only bright spot for the Green and White. The La Salle center finished with a near double-double with 19 points on 63.6 percent shooting, nine rebounds, and two assists. Leading MVP Kevin Quiambao struggled in his first appearance on the big stage, being held to just 11 markers, six boards, three assists, and a steal. Meanwhile, Evan Nelle, who was in early foul trouble, only contributed eight markers, three rebounds, and an uncharacteristic two assists.

On the other side, it was Harold Alarcon who led the Fighting Maroons in their runaway victory. The UP wing chipped in a game-high 21 points on 66.7 percent from the field and went eight out of nine from the line. Francis Lopez was also a force to be reckoned with, tallying a double-double with 15 markers and 11 boards. JD Cagulangan and Gerry Abadiano also had double figures for their team, scoring 11 and 10 points, respectively. The duo of Malick Diouf and Sean Torculas manned the paint, bringing down 15 and 10 rebounds, respectively.

Seeing it slip away

Entering the game with an inferior win-loss record but riding hot on a nine-game winning streak, the Green Archers managed to take the lead in the opening minutes at 11-8 after a roaring M. Phillips poster dunk, 11-8. However, the Fighting Maroons took control of the ball game from then onward. 

The side from Diliman found their rhythm inside the paint, with Season 85 MVP Diouf leading the way for his side as they entered the first-quarter TV timeout with the lead, 18-15. Nonoy and Josh David’s pairing off the bench accounted for seven points in the opening quarter, but UP came out on top, 29-24, in a high-scoring opening quarter.

The second quarter saw more offensive struggles for the Green and White, but M. Phillips still managed to muscle his way in the paint for the first three DLSU baskets in the quarter with his side still down, 37-30. La Salle came close once again after two M. Phillips splits at the line and a Raven Cortez lay-in, 42-39. 

The Green Archers struggled to take care of the ball, which led to their demise. In the first two quarters of play, they were outscored 15-2 in points off turnovers. With Cagulangan running the offense and nailing two threes, the Fighting Maroons entered the game-time break with a double-digit lead at 53-41.

Outplayed, out-hustled

Hoping for a complete turnaround in the second half, DLSU Head Coach Topex Robinson went with a completely different lineup to begin the third quarter. However, the next 20 minutes proved to be a nightmare compared to the bad dream that was the first half.

The Fighting Maroons came out looking more energized and organized by the time the whistle sounded. The Green Archers, on the other hand, were unable to match UP’s effort on both ends, failing to box out, close out, and recover loose balls following missed shots, interceptions, and unforced errors.

The Diliman-based duo of Lopez and Alarcon made light work of the lackluster La Salle defense, combining for 17 of the 24 points scored by UP in the third period. Meanwhile, the Green Archers only had 14 as a team, unable to find many quality looks and still missed even if they were left wide open. The quarter ended with UP orchestrating a blowout victory against the trailing Green Archers, 77-55.


In the final quarter, the La Salle bench was emptied as no miracles came for the Green and White. DLSU continued to succumb to the Fighting Maroons’ defensive unit, suffering one-and-done and scrambled possessions. Despite M. Phillips’ efforts to rally his teammates, UP ran away with a 1-0 series lead, 97-67. The 30-point advantage marked one of the largest victory margins in UAAP Finals history.

In the loss, La Salle had 18 turnovers to UP’s seven, one of the biggest factors for the latter’s scoring runs. This resulted in the Fighting Maroons out-hustling the Taft-based squad, going 12-4 in the team steals category. The team from Diliman also had seven more made triples and nine more made freebies, reflecting the Green Archers’ poor outside shooting and struggles to draw fouls to halt the UP momentum.

After being slapped across the face with DLSU’s worst loss yet with him at the helm, Robinson gave props to the Fighting Maroons. “Obviously, UP just showed us why they are the number one team in the UAAP right now. At this point we cannot look for other more excuses, [there’s nothing else to do] than to really bounce back this coming Sunday,” he declared.

M. Phillips echoed this saying, “They played a wonderful, great game. They were really physical…they really wanted it more than us.”

Following his team’s blowout loss, Robinson noted the physicality the referees allowed the game to be played at tonight and furthered, “As much as we wanna complain about some things, we just wanna really focus on ourselves. There’s no time for us to cry over spilled milk. If this is a record for one of the worst losses in the finals, we can also do something about it.”

La Salle will enter a do-or-die game as the two sides take the floor once again on Sunday, December 3, at 4 pm at the Smart Araneta Coliseum with their hopes of extending the series to a deciding game. Robinson ended that while his side is down, they are far from out. “We play Sunday. We know what championship basketball is all about. We know what it takes and we just have to be prepared for that.”

The Scores:

UP 97 – Alarcon 21, Lopez 15, Cagulangan 11, Abadiano 10, Torculas 9, Diouf 9, Cansino 5, Belmonte 5, Fortea 5, Felicilda 4, Pablo 3, Torres 0, Briones 0, Alter 0, Gagate 0

DLSU 67 – M. Phillips 19, Quiambao 11, Nelle 8, Austria 6, Nonoy 5, Cortez 4, Gollena 4, Escandor 3, David 2, Policarpio 2, Abadam 2, Manuel 1, Macalalag 0, Nwankwo 0, B. Phillips 0

Quarter Scores: 29-24, 53-41, 77-55, 97-67

Diego Manzano

By Diego Manzano

Gab Ortiz

By Gab Ortiz

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