La Salle snatches first win over NU

Beatrice Go
La Salle snatches first win over NU

Josh Albelda

The Green Archers rally past the gritty Bulldogs to clinch their first victory in two outings


MANILA, Philippines – Justine Baltazar knocked in the dagger basket as La Salle rallied past the National University, 80-76, to grab its first victory in the UAAP Season 81 men’s basketball tournament on Wednesday, September 19 at the Mall of Asia Arena. 

Baltazar buried the go-ahead jumper from the baseline, 78-76, with 28 seconds left before a pair of Andrei Caracut free throws cushioned La Salle’s lead with 10.7 ticks remaining.

Siguro sa practice, mga 100 times ko na naitakbo talaga [yung play]. Yun nga yung last play na yun, sinabi ko talaga [kay Justine], pag nakuha mo, tira mo na,” said La Salle head coach Louie Gonzalez.

(I guess we ran that play for around a 100 times in practice. That last play, I told Justine that if he gets the ball he should just shoot it.)

Aljun Melecio topscored with 19 points and Baltazar also had a huge double-double of 17 points and 12 rebounds as the Green Archers recovered from their opening-weekend loss to Far Eastern University.

Both La Salle and NU wound up with identical 1-1 records. 

Melecio drew a crucial foul off Enzo Joson in the corner allowing him to sink 2 of 3 charities to tie the score at 76-all.

After Troy Rike missed both his freebies,  Baltazar nailed the decisive jumper before Caracut sealed the victory.

The Green Archers, last season’s finalists, bounced back from a lackluster 1-of-17 outing from beyond the arc in the first half in a 3rd-quarter surge capped by a Melecio triple that gave them the lead, 52-51. 

Playing against [NU coach Jamike Jarin] for the last 3 years, alam ko marami siyang ibabato talaga. Very evident sa first half that we struggled,” admitted Gonzalez. “Kailangan ma-overcome namin ang sarili namin, saka lang kami pwede mag-compete.”

(Playing agains NU coach Jamike Jarin for the last 3 years, I knew that he’d cook up a lot of strategies. Very evident in the first half that we struggled. We need to overcome a lot of things in order to compete well.)

After Rike’s freebies tied the score at 55-all, the Green Archers dropped an 8-0 run punctuated by a pair of threes from Jollo Go for a 63-55 advantage.

The Bulldogs rallied back with a 7-0 spurt in the payoff period capped by John Lloyd Clemente’s crucial 3-point play, 67-66.

After both teams traded leads, Shaun Ildefonso’s triple tied the game at 74-all followed by Rike’s jumper to give NU the edge, 76-74.

Dave Ildefonso paced the Bulldogs with 16 points while Rike added 15 points to go with 6 boards.

The Scores

La Salle 80 – Melecio 19, Baltazar 17, Santillan 10, Go 10, Manuel 7, Caracut 6, Montalbo 4, Bates 4, Dyke 2, Serrano 1, Corteza 0.

NU 76 – Ildefonso D 16, Rike 15, Clemente 12, Ildefonso S 9, Joson 8, Gaye 8, Diputado 2, Gallego 2, Sinclair 2, Galinato 2, Yu 0, Aquino 0, Tibayan 0, Malonzo 0.

Quarters: 16-25, 35-38, 65-59, 80-76



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Beatrice Go

More commonly known as Bee, Beatrice Go is a multimedia sports reporter for Rappler, who covers Philippine sports governance, national teams, football, and the UAAP. Stay tuned for her news and features on Philippine sports and videos like the Rappler Athlete’s Corner and Rappler Sports Timeout.