MANILA, Philippines – The De La Salle Green Archers escaped the favored Adamson Soaring Falcons in a 79-78 overtime thriller in the UAAP Season 81 men’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena on Saturday, October 13.
Aljun Melecio came through the clutch, knocking in the game-tying basket with 13.6 ticks left to forge overtime, 64-64, before leading the La Salle surge in the extra period.
The win put the Archers (4-3) at solo fourth place, just behind the three-way logjam on top as Adamson, Ateneo and Far Eastern University all wound up toting 5-2 records at the end of the first rouond of the eliminations.
La Salle opened up a 7-0 run in the extra period courtesy of free throws and key shots from Melecio and Kib Montalbo as the Archers survived the Falcons’ comeback attempts.
Melecio led the Archers anew with 22 points on an 8-of-18 (44%) shooting clip.
Justine Baltazar posted another double-double of 16 points and 10 rebounds, while Santi Santillan also scored 16 and grabbed 9 boards for the Archers.
Baltazar’s free throws at the 2:08 mark in overtime extended La Salle’s lead, 73-64, before Jerrick Ahanmisi broke it up to score the Falcons’ first OT bucket.
Ahanmisi tried to lead the Falcons’ comeback effort before finishing with 27 points and 7 boards.
Sean Manganti also churned out 23 markers, 7 rebounds and 4 assists. No other Falcon breached double digits in scoring after them.
The Falcons, the surprise early leaders after a 5-0 start to the season, absorbed their second straight OT loss after also bowing to the FEU Tamaraws last Sunday.
Adamson regrouped from a double-digit hole with a 14-2 run in the 3rd quarter, 49-44, ending with a sweet spin and score from Simon Camacho at the 2:50 mark.
Although the Archers tied them up at 49 heading to the 4th, the Falcons responded with a 7-0 opening blitz, ending with a Conrad Catapusan alley-oop from Sean Manganti with 7 minutes left to go up 56-49.
However, La Salle tied them right back up at 58 with a 9-2 rally ending with a patented Santillan floater at the 4:35 mark.
La Salle 79 – Melecio 22, Santillan 16, Baltazar 16, Caracut 8, Montalbo 8, Serrano 5, Bates 2, Manuel 2, Dyke 0, Go 0.
Adamson 78 – Ahanmisi 27, Manganti 23, Sarr 9, Catapusan 5, Camacho 4, Lastimosa 3, Bernardo 2, Colonia 2, Espeleta 2, Magbuhos V. 1, Pingoy 0, Mojica 0.
Quarters: 22-16, 33-32, 49-49, 64-64, 79-78.