PINOYLIGA: Revamped Green Archers snatch narrow two-point victory over the Cardinals, 74-72

The DLSU Green Archers escaped the Mapúa Cardinals by a slim two-point advantage in the Pinoy Liga Collegiate Cup, 74-72, earlier today, April 28, at the Paco Arena. 

Reigning UAAP Season 86 Finals MVP Kevin Quiambao had an all-around game for the Green Archers with 17 points, seven boards, four dimes, and two stocks—grabbing the Player of the Game accolade. Big man Jonnel Policarpio contributed 17 points, four rebounds, and two assists while debuting for La Salle. Echoing his teammates’ performance was Jacob Cortez, who had an excellent start to his stint in Taft, with 11 points, six assists, and three boards in the win.

The former UE Red Warrior Clint Escamis led the way for the Mapúa Cardinals with 16 points, seven rebounds, and four assists in the down-to-the-wire loss. JC Recto added 13 points and six boards for the team from Intramuros.

Series of runs

Debutant Cortez opened the game with a three-pointer for DLSU, after which Jake Gaspay emphatically flushed the ball off an assist from Cortez for an early five-point lead, 5-0. Aaron Fermin scored the first basket for Mapúa with a layup inside the basket, 5-2. Escamis, who repped the Cardinals, created some separation from the Green Archer with a series of tough jumpers over the defense, 19-12. A corner three from Quiambao off a swift pass from the debuting Luis Pablo cut the lead to a solitary point, 19-18, but Joaquin Garcia swooshed in his two free-throws that built a three-point lead for the Cardinals after 10 minutes of play, 21-18.

Quiambao scored the first basket of the second quarter with a runner off the board to tie the game at 21-all. Despite the defense of the Green Archers tightening up, they had a hard time scoring the basket. By the end of the first half, with less than three minutes left, the Green Archers finally started scoring basket after basket, with Quiambao pulling up for a jumper and Pablo scoring in transition, 33-29, which created some separation from the Cardinals. Policarpio went ballistic in the dying minutes of the quarter, having a personal 6-0 run for La Salle, which built a double-digit lead going into the second half, 39-29. 

Fortunate finish 

Although the Cardinals went on a 7-2 run early in the second half, 41-36, the Green Archers were not worried as they limited their opponents to taking low-percentage perimeter shots by clogging the paint on their man-to-man defense. With their outside shots not falling, La Salle operated on their screen-heavy offense to free up drives to the basket, allowing Quiambao, Pablo, and Policarpio to draw fouls and give the Green-and-White an eight-point edge with four minutes remaining in the third canto, 48-40. 

Mapúa, however, would not back down so easily as they took advantage of playmaker Cortez’s absence on the floor, which forced DLSU to take isolation-centric action. Within three minutes, the Intramuros-based team collected defensive stops and shelled out a 7-0 run to cut their deficit to one, 48-47. Taking matters into his own hands, Policarpio decided to handle the rock and methodically slice his way to the rack for two, ending the quarter with a slim four-point advantage for DLSU, 51-47. 

In the final frame, La Salle’s outside shots were still riddled with poor luck, but their tenacity on the boards, combined with their aggressive drives, propelled them to a 9-1 blast, putting them ahead by 12 markers, 60-48. With the score at 67-50 and the game seemingly at an end for Mapúa, the Cardinals decided to stay unwavering by unleashing a 10-0 run fueled by their hustle around the paint, which trimmed their deficit to just seven with two minutes left in the game, 67-60. The Green-and-White then retaliated by handing the keys to their offense to the newly-added Cortez-Quiambao tandem, who effectively put the Cardinals away with their clutch shots, 72-66. In a desperate effort, Recto heated up by knocking down two triples to keep Mapúa within reach, but the team from Taft closed the game and fortunately escaped with the hard-earned victory, 74-72.

As a result of this tough win, the Green Archers boosted their flawless record to 2-0 and await the details for their next game to be held on Saturday, May 4. 

The Scores:

DLSU 74 – Quiambao 17, Policarpio 17, Cortez 11, Nwankwo 7, Ogana 7, Gaspay 4, Macalalag 3, Pablo 3,  Rubico 3, Abadam 2, Alian 0, Perez 0,

MU 72 – Escamis 16, Recto 13, Bancale 9, Hubilla 7, Mangubat 6, Fermin 5, Igliane 5, Cuenco 4, Pantaleon 3, Agemenyi 2, Garcia 2, Abdulla 0, Jabonete 0

Quarter Scores: 18-21, 39-29, 51-47, 74-72

Jaden Alberto

By Jaden Alberto

Raphael Serrano

By Raphael Serrano

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