UAAP Basketball

La Salle happy to learn composure against mighty UP: ‘Their strength is our weakness’

JR Isaga

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La Salle happy to learn composure against mighty UP: ‘Their strength is our weakness’

SILENCING DOUBTS. La Salle guard Evan Nelle (right) taunts in-game as Kevin Quiambao celebrates in the UAAP Season 86 men's basketball tournament

UAAP Season 86 Media Team

Streaking La Salle learns well from its three-point, third-quarter collapse against mighty UP, displaying newfound poise in its revenge win in the UAAP Season 86 second round

MANILA, Philippines – In one of the wildest roller-coaster games of the UAAP Season 86 men’s basketball tournament, the UP Fighting Maroons edged the La Salle Green Archers in the first round, 67-64, after the latter was held to a stunning three-point third quarter last October 18.

Fast forward two weeks later, the Archers finally exorcised their demons and held on for an 88-79 win against the Maroons despite yet another late rally by the league-leading squad.

Although UP did not have reigning MVP Malick Diouf, La Salle still had a lot to take away from an all-important win that raised its record to 7-3 in solo third place to remain in twice-to-beat Final Four contention.

One of the Archers’ great points, head coach Topex Robinson said, is a level of composure against adversity that they certainly did not display against UP in their first-round slugfest.

“We don’t really look UP as our [only] opponent, but they are worthy rivals,” he said after the game. “Their strength is our weakness. They know how to end games and they’re composed even without Malick and JD (Cagulangan).”

As a testament to their overall strength, the Maroons still rallied from a 13-point second-half deficit and briefly took a 75-74 fourth-quarter lead, but MVP frontrunner Kevin Quiambao singlehandedly put the game away with a personal 10-2 run immediately after that lapse in momentum.

Living up to his lofty billing, the Archers’ all-around star finished with 22 points – including 11 of La Salle’s last 14 – 12 rebounds, 3 steals, and 2 assists to deny UP an outright Final Four spot.

“They are really a strong team. We’re just happy to keep the game close, we kind of collapsed but it’s all good for us, as long as we’re gonna get better with every opportunity,” Robinson continued.

“[We’re] paying UP with so much respect and winning will be the by-product of what we’re doing.”

Now on a four-game winning streak and fully emerging from its rough start to the season, La Salle looks to stretch that run to five straight against dark horse playoff contenders Adamson Soaring Falcons on Wednesday, November 8, 6 pm, at the Araneta Coliseum. –

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