FilOil: Green Archers escape Growling Tigers’ third-quarter scare, clinch maiden win, 68-61

The DLSU Green Archers avenged their opening day loss in the FilOil EcoOil Preseason Cup with a bounce-back win over the UST Growling Tigers, 68-61, earlier tonight, May 17, at the FilOil EcoOil Centre in San Juan City.

Player of the Game Kevin Quiambao once again inspired a Green Archers win, posting 13 points and eight rebounds. Meanwhile, Jonnel Policarpio put up an all-around performance, tallying 12 points, six rebounds, four assists, three steals, and three blocks, with Henry Agunanne assisting his frontcourt partner with 12 points and 16 rebounds.

For the Growling Tigers, Nic Cabañero was the sole Thomasian in double figures with 14 points. Former ADMU Blue Eagle Forthsky Padrigao struggled to heat up against his former rivals, putting up an underwhelming nine points and six rebounds.

Speedy domination

Right as the tip-off started, the ballers from Taft immediately showed out with a champion-marked drive. King Archer Quiambao proved why he is the reigning UAAP MVP as he chalked up two straight beyond-the-arc daggers topped off by an Agunanne layup to quickly give La Salle a seven-point cushion at 7:56, 8-1. From there, the Green-and-White held on to a comfortably consistent lead.

But the Growling Tigers refused to back down as they slowly amassed points in the paint with the help of Cabañero to exact a 7-1 run at 5:55, which cut the lead to one, 11-10. But the Archers had other plans as they retaliated with a 6-0 outburst capped off by a putback by center Agunanne at 3:32 to capitalize on Doy Dungo’s unsuccessful fastbreak attempt, 17-10. Despite several attempts to convert points in the final minute and a power outage in the venue that momentarily paused the match, the Archers held out until the end of the maiden quarter on top, 23-16.

Edged by endurance

The Tigers showed off a more daunting performance in the second quarter, but the men in green proved themselves with endurance. After a blitzkrieg layup by UST’s Center Christian Manaytay, Policarpio responded with a floater and half of two freebies, which CJ Austria quickly matched with a three-point basket of his own to force a double-digit game once again, 29-18.

But there seemed to be a sudden ignition within the Growling Tigers as they sped through a 10-0 run almost within a minute, boosted by a downtown dagger by the returning Padrigao and polished with a two-pointer by Cabañero to incarcerate the lead down to one. Despite easy attempts by La Salle to fend off the peaking Tigers with help from Guard Vhoris Marasigan, Cabañero once again took off with a three-pointer to put the match at deadlock, 33-all.

Approaching the three-minute mark, Agunanne and Quiambao shrugged off the approaching danger zone by contributing back-and-forth with a six-point collective effort to bring back the gutter. Cabañero continued to be the hero for the yellow jerseys as he laid up the last of nine UST markers consecutively converted from his possession. But, Policarpio ensured that La Salle had the last laugh as he ended the quarter with a basket from in the paint to enter halftime with a six-point lead, 41-35.

Finishing the job

With a narrow lead at the half, the Green Archers found their opponents with a gall approach in taking the lead. Isaac Danting led the charge for the Growling Tigers, hitting long-range jumpers to give the white shirts a three-point advantage, 44-41. As La Salle struggled to break down the inside defense early on, Coach Topex Robinson called a timeout just two and a half minutes in.

Jcee Macalalag followed suit as his steal opened up a fastbreak layup to tie the game, 47-all. However, Angelo Crisostomo found gaps late in the quarter to give the Growling Tigers a three-point lead to close it out, 50-47.

The Green Archers championed their winning mentality to spark a fourth-quarter rally as Macalalag and Policarpio drained three-pointers each to grab the lead in less than a minute, 53-50. Despite UST’s success in scoring, La Salle immediately nullified their efforts, responding with buckets of their own. Despite carrying the momentum in the quarter and a seven-point lead, Coach Topex Robinson was not satisfied and called a timeout with over four and a half minutes left, 64-57.

Off the break, Agunanne maintained his inside presence and twice showed off his shot-blocking ability. The lead proved to be too big for the white shirts, even with their late rally, as the Green Archers held on to the win off of their fourth-quarter spark, 68-61.

After a comeback scare from the Growling Tigers, Head Coach Robinson acknowledged his team’s possible exhaustion from playing on-court for the second consecutive day and reminded them to be mentally tough. “They all have the reason to have excuses kasi nga pagod sila. But I mean, excuses are not for champions. If you want to be a champion, you have to let go of all of those excuses and respond to the challenge that has been given to you,” he proclaimed.

(They all have the reason to have excuses because I know they are tired.) 

The DLSU Green Archers will set their sights on keeping the fire alive as they face the AdU Soaring Falcons on Wednesday, May 22, at 5 pm at the same venue.

The Scores:

DLSU 68 – Quiambao 13, Policarpio 12, Agunanne 12, Austria 9, Marasigan 8, Macalalag 6, Cortez 4, Abadam 2, Dungo 2, Romero 0, Rubico 0, Alian 0

UST 61 – Cabañero 14, Danting 9, Padrigao 9, Tounkara 8, Manaytay 7, Crisostomo 6, Estacio 2, Paranada 2, Andrews 2, Robinson 2, Moore 0, Pangilinan 0, 

Quarter Scores: 23-16, 41-35, 47-50, 68-61

Daniel Quiroga

By Daniel Quiroga

John Rei Salanga

By John Rei Salanga

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