Playing at the Smart Araneta Coliseum floor for the first time this Season 81, the Green Archers didn’t quite feel at home at the Big Dome, dropping a 50-57 decision against the Adamson Soaring Falcons.
A historically-low output of two points in the opening 10 minutes – courtesy of two free throws from rookie Joaquin Manuel – were all La Salle could muster. What prevented things from going worse was the fact that the Taft-based squad gave up only nine first quarter points to their opponents.
Justine Baltazar finally found the bottom of the net at the 8:38 mark for DLSU’s first field goal. After the Falcons recorded their biggest margin of the game, 23-10 at the 4:29 mark, spit-fire guard Aljun Melecio finally heated up; scoring eight points in a 11-3 La Salle run to trim the lead to just five, 21-26.
Justine Baltazar with ? on the back of his head! #UAAPSeason81 pic.twitter.com/LVGejSiI6M
— ABS-CBN Sports (@abscbnsports) October 20, 2018
Still trailing 21-28 and 35-41 at halftime and at the end of the third quarter, respectively, last year’s men’s basketball tournament runner-up mounted a last-gasp rally; once again led by Melecio’s outside shooting. Back-to-back outside conversions by the Season 79 Rookie of the Year made the game close as the Green Archers only trailed by a single point, 46-47.
DLSU head coach Louie Gonzales’ wards however, couldn’t complete the comeback as the team could only come up with a single field goal and two more points from the charity stripe to fall to a 5-4 win-loss record. Despite being the more aggressive team in the paint, La Salle failed to capitalize from the free throw line, going 12/21, including 3/9 in the fourth and final frame.
Bouncing back from his eight-point performance against the UE Red Warriors last Wednesday, Melecio recorded a team-high 18 points and added eight rebounds. Rookie Encho Serraro was the only other player to finish in double digits (10) as big men Baltazar and Santi Santillan were held to a combined output of 11 points.
Battling Adamson import Papi Sarr all game long, Balti, Santi, and Brandon Bates were able to cancel out Sarr’s 12-point, 15-rebound performance by grabbing a combined 31 rebounds and swatting away nine shot attempts.
The win marked former DLSU head coach Franz Pumaren’s first win against his alma mater after taking over Adamson’s program two years ago. The Soaring Falcons also had a +15 advantage from the three-point area, going 7/24 compared to La Salle’s 2/16.
The Green Archers will try to bounce back against their first round tormentors, the FEU Tamaraws, on Saturday, October 27, 4:00PM, also at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.
AdU 57 – Manganti 19, Sarr 12, Ahanmisi 9, Pingoy 6, Camacho 4, Lastimosa 3, Magbuhos 2, Zaldivar 2, Catapusan 0, Mojica 0, Espeleta 0, Bernardo 0
DLSU 50 – Melecio 18, Serraro 10, Baltazar 6, Santillan 5, Montalbo 4, Dyke 4, Manuel 2, Caracut 1, Bates 0, Corteza 0
Quarter scores: 2-9, 21-28, 35-41, 50-57