ANTIPOLO CITY, Philippines – The La Salle Green Archers arrested an early losing skid with a 68-61 triumph over the Adamson Soaring Falcons in the UAAP Season 82 men's basketball tournament at the Ynares Center on Saturday, September 21.
Team captain Andrei Caracut knocked in two clutch triples inside the last 58 seconds to help the Green Archers bounce back and improve their record to 2-3.
Justine Baltazar also came up big for La Salle with 21 points, 14 rebounds, and 2 blocks.
Caracut – who missed his first 4 three-point attempts in the game before hitting the last two at the most crucial stretch – finished with 15 points.
"Thank you Andrei for those three-point shots," said La Salle coach Gian Nazario. "We really felt the pressure as a team. The coaching staff, the players, and everyone in the team felt the pressure."
Both squads traded leads in the payoff period as Val Chauca gave Adamson a 58-57 edge before Aljun Melecio responded with a free throw and a bucket that had La Salle regaining a 60-58 advantage with 3:01 remaining.
Caracut then capitalized on the momentum with a clutch trey as the Green Archers went up, 63-58, with 58 ticks left.
After Chauca sank 3 free throws to cut the deficit to two, Caracut negated that effort with another clutch long bomb to keep La Salle on top, 66-61, at the 28-second mark of the game.
Adamson then shut the door on their own comeback hopes after a costly inbound turnover and an unsportsmanlike foul on rookie Joshua Yerro at the 20-second mark.
This resulted in two more Melecio free throws to ice the game for good.
Staring at a 12-point deficit early in the 1st quarter, the Archers found their touch in the 2nd and seized a 41-33 cushion on the back of Baltazar’s 15 first-half points.
It then became a see-saw affair in the 3rd quarter as Adamson regained a 47-46 lead off a free throw by Lenda Douanga to cap off a 10-1 run at the 2:34 mark.
The tight duel carried over in the final period before Caracut came through the clutch to help the Archers avoid another alarming loss.
Chauca and Ahanmisi fired 13 points each to pace the Falcons, who dropped to 3-3.
La Salle 68 – Baltazar 21, Caracut 15, Malonzo 12, Manuel 6, Lojera 5, Melecio 4, Bates 3, Bartlett 2, Cagulangan 0, Cu 0, Meeker 0, Pado 0, Serrano 0.
Adamson 61 – Ahanmisi 13, Chauca 13, Camacho 12, Mojica 9, Douanga 7, Lastimosa 3, Fermin 2, Zaldivar 2, Bernardo 0, Flowers 0, Magbuhos 0, Manlapaz 0, Yerro 0.
Quarters: 15-21, 41-32, 52-49, 68-61