By Jun Ray Navarres
Kevin Quiambao and the De La Salle University dealt top team University of the Philippines their second loss in the UAAP S86 Men’s Basketball Tournament with a rousing 88-79 win at the SM Mall of Asia Arena, Sunday evening.
After a break-away first half for the Green Archers, the Fighting Maroons bounced back to recover the lead, 75-74 with 4:45 left on the clock.
MVP race leader Quiambao then took over with 10 straight points, shifting the lead back to DLSU with 1:44 left, 84-77.
CJ Cansino stopped the bleeding for UP with a long two, 84-79 but Evan Nelle dropped a cold blooded three to hand UP the defeat.
“Tulad ng lagi kong sinasabi itong mga stats na ito galing lang sa system ni coach. Dinodoble ko lang ‘yong effort ko, trust the system lang, hindi ko pinipilit,” said Quiambao, who finished with 22 points, 12 rebounds, and three steals.
Nelle on the other hand had his break-out game with 17 points and six assists after missing round one encounter against UP. DLSU’s Michael Phillips returned with 15 points and 12 rebounds, after being out for two games due to an ankle injury.
La Salle’s early 8-for-15 shooting from beyond the arc and 16 points off UP’s 11 turnovers provided the necessary gap at halftime, 51-39.
“We know that coming into this game, UP is gonna be the barometer of the season… We had a chance the last time we played them in the first round, but things didn’t go our way. We just came here trying to be the better version of ourselves,” said DLSU head coach Topex Robinson.
“UP is a good team. The challenge is for the players to step up, together we can do great things. These guys are really competitors.”
Unfortunately for UP, JD Cagulangan and reigning MVP Malick Diouf were both out due to a hamstring injury and wrist injury, respectively.
Cansino provided 20 points and five rebounds for UP while Janjan Felicilda flirted with a double-double of 13 points and nine rebounds.
La Salle, now at 7-3 is just one game behind leading UP and National University who tied with 8-2.
The Green Archers and the Fighting Maroons plan to better position in the rankings with Wednesday match-ups against Adamson University and University of the East, respectively.
Featured photo courtesy of UAAP
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