UAAP Basketball

No easy route: Topex Robinson, La Salle deal with pain of nasty Game 1 loss to UP

Delfin Dioquino

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No easy route: Topex Robinson, La Salle deal with pain of nasty Game 1 loss to UP

REGROUP. The La Salle Green Archers in action in the UAAP Season 86 men's basketball tournament.

UAAP

Their winning streak snapped, the La Salle Green Archers are sent crashing back to earth as they plot their payback against the UP Fighting Maroons with hopes of extending the UAAP finals to a decider

MANILA, Philippines – If La Salle needs to take the torturous path on the way to the UAAP promised land, then so be it.

Green Archers head coach Topex Robinson accepted the necessary misery that comes with chasing a championship as La Salle took a 97-67 beating from UP in Game 1 of the Season 86 finals on Wednesday, November 29.

The loss sent the Archers crashing back to earth as they saw their nine-game winning streak snapped, with the Fighting Maroons moving on the verge of their second title in three seasons.

“It really hurt everybody. But we have to really go through this. Winning a championship is not going to be easy. I guess taking the easy route will give us this kind of result,” said Robinson.

“We have to go back to trying to figure out how we’re going to get our guys in a better situation to succeed.”

Except for Michael Phillips (19 points and 9 rebounds), the usual suspects for La Salle struggled as UP – back in the finals for the third straight season – took the stunned Archers to school.

La Salle star Kevin Quiambao, who is set to become the first local player to win MVP since 2015, got limited to a season-low-tying 11 points, while Evan Nelle and Mark Nonoy were contained to just 8 and 5 points, respectively.

Nelle and Nonoy both shot a dreadful 0-of-6 from three-point distance – a stark contrast to their sizzling performances in a 97-73 romp of NU in the Final Four where they combined for 35 points on 58% shooting.

With their stars firing blanks, the Archers absorbed the most lopsided loss in a title series opener in the Final Four era.

“There is no time for us to really cry over spilled milk. If this is, I guess, one of the records of the worst losses in the finals, we could also do something about it,” said Robinson.

“We know what championship basketball is all about. We know what it takes. We just have to really be prepared for that and make preparations for it.”

As La Salle shoots for the equalizer in the best-of-three affair on Sunday, December 3, at the Araneta Coliseum, Robinson put emphasis on tuning out the outside noise.

“It is done and over with. It really tasted sour. Obviously, there is going to be a lot of great minds telling us what to do, but at the end of the day, we stick together as a group,” said Robinson.

“Whatever happens, we’re going to win together, we’re going to lose together.” – Rappler.com

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Delfin Dioquino

Delfin Dioquino dreamt of being a PBA player, but he did not have the skills to make it. So he pursued the next best thing to being an athlete – to write about them. He took up journalism at the University of Santo Tomas and joined Rappler as soon as he graduated in 2017.