MVP frontrunner Kevin Quiambao made sure that the revenge tour of De La Salle University continues.
After taking down National University last week, the Green Archers got back on the UP Fighting Maroons with an 88-79 rousing win on Sunday to continue their chase for a top two spot in the UAAP Season 86 Men’s Basketball Tournament at the SM Mall of Asia Arena.
The Fighting Maroons turned a 59-66 hole at the start of the fourth into a 75-74 advantage with 4:45 remaining through the combined efforts of CJ Cansino, Gerry Abadiano, and Chicco Briones.
Then Quiambao proved why he’s leading the Most Valuable Player race.
The 6-foot-8 sophomore forward scored the next 10 La Salle points to restore order for his side, erecting a brand new 84-77 lead with 1:49 to go.
Cansino made a long two but Evan Nelle drained the off-the-board top of the key dagger triple with 22.9 seconds left, 87-79.
“Itong mga stats na ito galing lang sa system ni coach. Dinodoble ko lang yung effort ko, trust the system lang, hindi ko pinipilit,” said Quiambao, who finished with 22 points, 12 rebounds, and three steals.
With their fourth straight triumph, the Green Archers rose to 7-3, just a game behind the Fighting Maroons and the Bulldogs, who are now tied at first and second spots with identical 8-2 slates.
La Salle, which did not have top guard Nelle at that time, lost to UP in the first round, 67-64.
“We know coming into this game, UP is gonna be the barometer of the season. This is a test of how far we’ve come as a team. We had a chance the last time we played them, but things didn’t go our way. We just came here trying to be the better version of ourselves,” said Green Archers head coach Topex Robinson.
Nelle came up big as well with 17 points, six rebounds, and four assists, while Jonnel Policarpio and Francis Escandor were sparkplugs with 11 points each. The 6-foot-5 power forward also grabbed eight rebounds and dished out five assists.
Green Archers’ hyper-athletic forward Mike Phillips also made his return after missing the last two games due to an ankle injury, delivering 15 points and 12 rebounds.
The Fighting Maroons missed point guard JD Cagulangan for the second straight game due to a hamstring injury while reigning MVP Malick Diouf did not suit up due to a wrist injury.
Cansino had 20 points in the losing cause while Janjan Felicilda contributed 13 points, nine rebounds, and five assists.
Standing in for the hurt Diouf, who has averages of 12.78 points and 14.89 rebounds, Luis Pablo and Sean Alter combined for eight points and 10 rebounds.
La Salle will go for five in a row against Adamson University, while UP seeks to rebound against University of the East. Both games will be on Wednesday at the SMART Araneta Coliseum.
DLSU 88 – Quiambao 22, Nelle 17, M. Phillips 15, Policarpio 11, Escandor 11, Nonoy 3, Abadam 3, Cortez 2, Austria 2, Manuel 2, B. Phillips 0, David 0, Macalalag 0, Nwankwo 0.
UP 79 – Cansino 20, Felicilda 13, Alarcon 10, Abadiano 9, Pablo 6, Briones 5, Torculas 4, Lopez 4, Alter 2, Belomonte 2, Torres 2, Fortea 2, Gagate 0.
Quarterscores: 22-14, 51-39, 66-59, 88-79