MANILA, Philippines – The La Salle Green Archers bounced back from their first UAAP Season 84 loss against Ateneo, and denied the UST Growling Tigers a third straight win, 75-66, at the Mall of Asia Arena on Tuesday, April 5.
With the win, the Archers stayed in second place with a 4-1 record, while the Tigers skidded down to 2-3 for the season.
Gilas Pilipinas big man Justine Baltazar once again led the Archers in scoring with 20 points off an efficient 8-of-12 clip and 2-of-3 from three, on top of 7 rebounds, 5 assists, a steal, and a block.
Veteran guard Kurt Lojera scored 15, rebounding machine Michael Phillips had 8 points and 13 rebounds with 8 from the offensive glass, while Mark Nonoy lagged behind with just 3 markers in 19 minutes against his former team.
After an early Joshua Fontanilla three gave UST a 5-2 lead, La Salle completely took over the game with a huge 19-2 swing ending with a Schonny Winston layup at the 4:07 mark for the 21-7 lead.
The Archers kept their hold on the contest until deep in the third quarter, when a Phillips putback jam off a Nonoy miss extended the gap to a game-high 19, 58-39, with 1:45 left.
Although the Tigers inched within single-digits multiple times in the final frame, they never got close enough to threaten La Salle’s lead as Baltazar bullied his way to a dagger post hook for a 73-62 separation with 1:55 remaining.
“I think it’s very important for us to bounce back after a loss against Ateneo,” said head coach Derick Pumaren. “The thing I told the boys was how we can bounce back. We have to bounce back hard, and take care of business.”
“We can’t let our guard down because UST is coming off two straight wins. I think overall, we did a pretty good job.”
Joshua Fontanilla and Nic Cabanero paced UST’s loss with 20 points apiece, while Cabanero also added 10 boards for the double-double finish.
La Salle aims to start a new winning streak on Thursday, April 7 against fellow powerhouse UP Fighting Maroons at 10 am. Meanwhile, UST will try to get back on track at 1 pm against the NU Bulldogs.
La Salle 75 – Baltazar 20, Lojera 15, Galman 13, M. Phillips 8, Nelle 4, Austria 4, B. Phillips 4, Nonoy 3, Winston 2, Nwankwo 0.
UST 66 – Fontanilla 20, Cabanero 20, Manaytay 9, Santos 9, Concepcion 4, Ando 2, M. Pangilinan 2, Garing 0, Manalang 0, Mantua 0, Herrera 0, Yongco 0, Gomez de Liano 0.
Quarters: 23-16, 42-27, 61-44, 75-66.