MANILA, Philippines – The La Salle Green Archers earned their biggest win yet in the UAAP Season 85 men’s basketball tournament with an 82-80 stunner of the UP Fighting Maroons at the Mall of Asia Arena on Sunday, November 20, to light a fire under their once-languishing Final Four hopes.
With La Salle playing for the fourth straight game without MVP candidate Schonny Winston, Gilas Pilipinas prospect Kevin Quiambao took over in the clutch with 13 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter to go with 9 rebounds, 1 steal, and 1 block.
Mark Nonoy, meanwhile, ruled the team’s third-quarter run with 13 of his 15 points coming in that frame alone, while Michael Phillips kept the energy up with 8 points, 14 boards (6 offensive), 2 steals, and 1 block, as La Salle rose to a 5-6 record.
Coming off a 69-all tie with 5:25 left in regulation thanks to a James Spencer three, La Salle all but sealed the deal with a pivotal 10-0 run for A 79-69 lead, highlighted by a smooth Quiambao turnaround jumper at the 1:27 mark and helped up by three crucial UP turnovers in a minute’s span.
Although the Maroons once again gave the Archers a real scare with a sudden 9-1 spurt, ending with a long banking triple by JD Cagulangan to get within 78-80, Quiambao calmly sealed the deal with a pair of free throws with 11.3 ticks left before Malick Diouf sank a layup at the buzzer to set the final score.
Zavier Lucero paced UP’s tough loss with 15 points off the bench plus 6 rebounds in 23 minutes, while Carl Tamayo scored 14 with 7 boards as the Final Four-bound Maroons fell to a 10-2 slate.
La Salle now looks to keep it going with a huge game against the twice-to-beat bonus-seeking NU Bulldogs on Wednesday, November 23, 1 pm, while UP heads back to the drawing board against the also-ran UST Growling Tigers at the 11 am opener.
La Salle 82 – Quiambao 18, Nonoy 15, Austria 10, Nelle 9, M. Phillips 8, Abadam 8, B. Phillips 5, Nwankwo 5, Macalalag 4, Estacio 0, Cortez 0.
UP 80 – Lucero 15, Tamayo 14, Spencer 12, Diouf 11, Cagulangan 8, Alarcon 8, Gonzales 4, Galinato 4, Calimag 4, Abadiano 0, Ramos 0.
Quarters: 14-18, 35-41, 59-63, 82-80.