La Salle silences UE for 2nd UAAP triumph
MANILA, Philippines – The De La Salle University (DLSU) Green Archers kept the University of the East (UE) Red Warriors winless, 82-72, in the UAAP Season 81 men's basketball tournament on Sunday, September 23, at the Filoil Flying V Centre.
La Salle big man Justine Baltazar had another big game of 16 points and 14 rebounds, while Aljun Melecio pumped in 16, highlighted by four triples in the first half to power the Green Archers to an early double-digit advantage, 39-27.
The victory propelled the Green Archers to a share of second place with defending champion Ateneo and Far Eastern University (FEU) at 2-1, behind unbeaten Adamson.
“Before the game, I told them it will be a great opportunity for us, we're both all-Filipino teams – UE and La Salle. Both of us, with coach Joe (Silva), we’re both rebuilding,” said DLSU head coach Louie Gonzalez.
UE tried to spark a comeback with a 13-5 run late in the 3rd quarter, but the Green Archers managed to keep the Red Warriors at bay.
Alvin Pasaol – who erupted for 36 points and 11 rebounds in his last outing against Adamson – gained his groove back in the payoff period to finish with a game-high 22 points after getting limited to just 5 points in the first three quarters.
Despite UE's late scoring efforts, however, Melecio made sure to keep them at a distance with a dagger triple in the final minute to secure the Green Archers' win.
“I really cannot afford meltdowns especially in the last minute. I’m still trying to preach to them how to finish strong,” added Gonzalez.
The Red Warriors skidded to their third straight loss.
La Salle 82 – Baltazar 16, Melecio 16, Serrano 11, Go 10, Caracut 9, Santillan 6, Dyke 5, Bates 3, Manuel 2, Montalbo 2, Corteza 2, Capacio 0.
UE 72 – Pasaol 22, Varilla 14, Manalang 11, Bartolome 6, Maloles 5, Cullar 4, Gallardo 4, Acuno 2, Strait 2, Lacap 2, Antiporda 0, Beltran 0, Guion 0.
Quarters: 21-14, 39-27, 59-45, 82-72.