FilOil: Green Archers survive Soaring Falcons’ hot shooting with efficient paint offense for back-to-back wins, 80-72

The DLSU Green Archers earned their second victory of the FilOil EcoOil 17th Preseason Cup Elimination Round after showcasing their resilience against the AdU Soaring Falcons in an exhilarating UAAP offseason matchup, 80-72, earlier tonight, May 22, at the FilOil EcoOil Centre in San Juan City.

In the win, Jonnel Policarpio was honored as the Player of the Game after the La Salle big man delivered 22 points, six rebounds, two assists, and two steals. Manning the paint, Henry Agunanne put together a well-rounded performance, tallying 16 markers, six boards, five dimes, three takeaways, and a block. Kevin Quiambao, on the other hand, had a quiet double-double on an uncharacteristically rough shooting night with 11 points, 10 rebounds, three assists, and a steal. Meanwhile, Earl Abadam had 11 markers of his own to go along with three boards, two assists, and two steals, totaling DLSU’s players with double-digits to four.

In the valiant effort, John Calisay was on fire from beyond the arc for the Soaring Falcons, putting up 16 points on 62.5-percent shooting and four triples. Cedrick Manzano complemented this performance with 13 markers, six boards, and two rejections, while Manu Anabo had 12 points, four rebounds, and two assists of his own.

Grappling for the lead

The opening quarter was kickstarted with consecutive markers by the opponent, however, a Policarpio play earned the Green-and-White’s first points, 4-2. Fan favorite Quiambao was on the floor for the first few minutes of the match but failed to grab the opportunity to claim free markers for his team. 

The Green Archers seemingly grappled with gaining the lead, missed shots, and technical fouls crossing the court. The Agunanne and Earl Abadam tandem scored successive numbers for their team, allowing the Green Archers to take a two-point lead, 19-17. La Salle’s last two points were earned from a flawless Raven Cortez free throw, but the Green Archers ultimately fell short as they allowed a clutch three-pointer from Adamson to slip through, ending the first quarter down by one, 22-21. 

The second quarter moved rather slowly, as DLSU still struggled to outplay Adamson. Agunanne was seen taking flight, forcing the ball into the ring, La Salle just two points away from tying the match, 29-27. Halfway through the second quarter, penalties and fouls coming from the other side of the court made way for DLSU to earn free points and finally take the lead, 32-31.

Adamson was seen making scores from behind the arc, which was disadvantageous for the Green Archers’ shaky aims as they could not convert baskets. Eventually, DLSU got back on their feet and a dunk by UAAP Season 86 MVP Quiambao brought the scoreboards apart, with a six-point gap, and freebies from Abadam. The team from Taft needed to keep this newly gained momentum alive before entering the second half of the match. After countless attempts and rebounds by both sides, Jcee Macalalag put the cherry on top for DLSU, entering the halftime break with a three-point advantage, 45-42.

Game of runs

Following an eventful first half, the Green Archers’ Head Coach Topex Robinson immediately called for a 2-3 zone defense, daring the Soaring Falcons to shoot the ball from a distance while also putting pressure on the perimeter. Abadam and Policarpio were essential in this as they were responsible for traps and double-teams that led to broken plays by AdU and a quick 5-0 scoring run by the duo. However, the Soaring Falcons’ shooters caught fire. Following Quiambao’s three-pointer at the 7:26 mark, Calisay and Anabo did some damage from beyond the arc which let Adamson regain the lead and an eventual four-point cushion, 61-57.

La Salle, known for their steadiness despite being down, were left unfazed by their opponent’s scoring streak. Urgently, the Green-and-White swiftly attacked the basket through drives and touch passes. With CJ Austria, Quiambao, Agunanne, and Vhoris Marasigan all contributing offensively, DLSU put up a 9-0 run of their own to counter Adamson’s mid-quarter production, 66-61. The Soaring Falcons pounced back, though, with Eli Ramos and Manzano each putting up points for their team for a 5-0 swing. At the end of the third period, both teams were tied, 66-all, and the game was for either squad’s taking.

Driving to win

As the final quarter rolled around, the Green Archers were the first to strike. The spark for DLSU was the young David Dungo, who was responsible for handling the basketball and orchestrating the offense while staying in front of the other team’s ball handler on the defensive end. The La Salle wing tallied a steal, back-to-back assists, and multiple successful stops to put the Taft-based squad ahead, 75-69, with five minutes left in the game.

After Manzano made another shot at the basket, Head Coach Robinson recalled his team for a timeout to regroup. With La Salle still holding the advantage by a slim margin, 75-71, both teams stepped up their physicality and committed multiple fouls and deflections to slow the game down. As the clock hit the three-minute mark, Macalalag, Quiambao, and Policarpio put together the final nails in the coffin on both ends to deliver DLSU’s second victory of the tournament and their first set of back-to-back wins, 80-72.

Most team statistics were relatively close, but what stood out from the match were the eight lead changes and nine ties. La Salle held the advantage for over 21 minutes of the game but struggled to secure the victory early because of AdU’s stellar three-point shooting. As a team, the Soaring Falcons shot 39.1-percent on 23 attempts–a significant margin compared to the Green Archers’ 21.4-percent on 14 attempts.

After the game, Head Coach Robinson remained optimistic despite their opening-day loss against the UP Fighting Maroons, “Sky’s always the limit,” revealing that there is room for improvement in their upcoming games in the tournament. Due to many key players graduating from the Green-and-White roster, he believes that the team’s younger members have been stepping up to fill in the gaps and adjust to the system. Coach Robinson also said that his players have been responding positively to the team’s current training program.

On the other hand, Player of the Game Policarpio expressed how he and the rookies help each other to improve, saying, “sabay sabay aangat para sa UAAP.” With a nod, Coach Robinson added that he gives chances to the newcomers, always reminding his whole team to be a blessing to those around them.

(Our team will rise together for the upcoming UAAP.)

Following this victory, the Green Archers look to maintain their winning streak, getting ready to face the UE Red Warriors on May 30 at the same venue.

The Scores:

DLSU 80 Policarpio 22, Agunanne 16, Quiambao 11, Abadam 11, Cortez 9, Macalalag 4, Marasigan 4, Austria 3, Dungo 0, Alian 0, Romero, Gaspay 0, Zamora 0

AdU 72 Calisay 16, Manzano 13, Anabo 12, Fransman 8, Mantua 7, Alexander 4, Barasi 4, Mudianga 4, Ramos 4, Dignadice 0, Ronzone 0, Edding 0, Sicat 0

Quarter Scores 21-22, 45-42, 66-66, 80-72

Jamie Alberto

By Jamie Alberto

Gab Ortiz

By Gab Ortiz

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