UAAP Basketball

Relentless La Salle wrecks NU, returns to UAAP finals after 6 years

Rappler.com

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Relentless La Salle wrecks NU, returns to UAAP finals after 6 years

SWISH. La Salle's Mark Nonoy celebrates a three-point bucket against the NU Bulldogs in the UAAP Final Four.

UAAP SEASON 86 MEDIA TEAM

(2nd UPDATE) A hot-shooting La Salle squad returns to the UAAP men’s basketball finals for the first time in six years, arranging a title showdown against the UP Fighting Maroons after dismantling the NU Bulldogs in the Final Four

MANILA, Philippines — Back to the big dance.

The La Salle Green Archers advanced to their first UAAP men’s basketball championship series since 2017 after shooting down the NU Bulldogs in the Final Four, 97-73, on Saturday, November 25, at the Araneta Coliseum.

Mark Nonoy knocked down four three-pointers en route to a 20-point outing as La Salle extended its win streak to nine straight games since the end of the first round.

Fellow backcourt stalwart Evan Nelle poured an additional 15 points, collared 5 rebounds, and dished out 8 assists as La Salle sets up a showdown against the UP Fighting Maroons in the best-of-three affair starting Wednesday, November 29, at the Mall of Asia Arena at 6 pm.

It is the first finals clash between the two teams since La Salle transferred to the UAAP from the NCAA in 1986, incidentally the year when the Maroons won the championship.

“We came into this game knowing NU was going to throw everything,” said first-year La Salle coach Topex Robinson after the Archers ended their six-year finals drought.

“We are going to the finals and we’re going to get it, [knowing it’s not going to be] given to us… we have to earn every possession from the jump ball to the final buzzer and make sure that the guys will work together as a team,” he added.

The Archers wrested control of the game when it closed the opening chapter on a 13-4 run to claim a 20-14 advantage.

Most Valuable Player frontrunner Kevin Quiambao then scored a three-point play to give DLSU a 12-point spread at 44-32, with 90 ticks remaining in the first half.

Quiambao finished the game with 17 points on 5-of-15 shooting and 8 boards.

The La Salle lead ballooned to as many as 24 points, 70-46, after Nonoy drilled a triple from the left wing with about 51 seconds remaining in the third.

NU sliced the lead to 18, but could not come any closer as the Green Archers took the win.

La Salle shot the lights out at a 51.4% clip and stole the ball 11 times.

“We’re really blessed. This is where La Salle belongs. We belong here in the finals. I hope the La Salle community continues its support,” said Nonoy in a mix of Filipino and English.

Jake Figueroa scored 19 and hauled in 9 rebounds for NU, while Mike Malonzo added 13 markers and 8 boards in his final UAAP game.

The Bulldogs replicated its third-place finish from last season when they were eliminated by eventual runners up UP in comeback fashion.

NU ended their Season 86 campaign on a three-game skid.

The Scores

La Salle 97 – Nonoy 20, Quiambao 17, Nelle 15, M. Phillips 11, Escandor 9, Policarpio 9, David 5, Cortez 4, Macalalag 4, Abadam 3, Austria 0, Gollena 0, Nwankwo 0.

NU 73 – Figueroa 19, Malonzo 13, Baclaan 12, Palacielo 8, Yu 8, Jumamoy 7, Galinato 2, Manansala 2, Padrones 2, John 0, Lim 0, Enriquez 0, Gulapa 0, Casinillo 0, Parks 0.

Quarters: 20-14, 45-36, 70-50, 97-73.

– Rappler.com

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