La Salle gets back at Ateneo, closes in on twice-to-beat

By Jun Ray Navarres

De La Salle University swept the second round of UAAP Season 86 Men’s Basketball Tournament with a 72-69 win over archrival Ateneo de Manila University, Saturday evening at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.

The Green Archers forced their way into the second spot with an 11-3 record, waiting for National University’s (10-3) result tomorrow against University of the Philippines (11-2), and hoping for a possible semis twice-to-beat advantage.

“We just slug it out with them, we were ahead most of the time, but we know they’re gonna fight their way through, but I’ve guessed we’ve learned from our mistakes the first time we played them,” shared DLSU head coach Topex Robinson.

Donning just a five-point lead after three quarters, La Salle pushed the advantage up to eight until Jarred Brown, who was previously 0-9 from the field, closed in the gap with a three, 66-65 with a little over two minutes left.

Ateneo had a chance to take over, but La Salle kept their composure to force a turnover during the inbound play of the Blue Eagles. Evan Nelle then secured a mid range jump shot from a broken play to extend the lead back up to three, 68-65.

Mike Phillips added salt to the wound of Ateneo with a eurostep to get past Joseph Obasa for an open layup, 70-65.

Chris Koon refused to give up for Ateneo, drilling a quick jumper, 67-70. La Salle rushed things on the inbound, resulting in a steal, but Brown missed his three-point attempt.

Koon was quick to commit a foul, but La Salle was not on penalty yet.

Nelle was then fouled again by Sean Quiteves with 12.1 left on the clock. He sank both of his freebies, 72-67.

Obasa delayed the inevitable with a breakaway layup, but time was not on their side as the remaining 3.3 sec ticked down to the final buzzer.

Kevin Quiambao almost made another history for UAAP, flirting with a triple double of 14 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assist, and one block.

Phillips set another double-double performance of 10 points, 14 rebounds, four assists, four steals, and two blocks.

Obasa on the other hand, tallied career performance of 21 points and nine rebounds. Kai Ballungay added 12 baskets while Mason Amos contributed 10.

Meanwhile for Ateneo (7-7), a win by Adamson University (6-7) against University of the East tomorrow will force a playoff game for the last semis ticket of this year’s version of UAAP.

Featured photo courtesy of UAAP

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