JV Casio wanted everyone to know that La Salle is still the same team that won the championship last season, capable of defending the crown. And JV Casio made sure his message was received–loud and clear.
The five-year Green Archer veteran shot the lights out Saturday night, scoring a career-high 29 points, including a perfect 3 of 3 from the rainbow region to power the De La Salle Green Archers to a 73-62 conquest of the Far Eastern University Tamaraws in UAAP Season 71 Men’s Basketball Tournament at the Philsports Arena. The win pushed the defending champions into a four way tie for 2nd place with UST Growling Tigers, the UP Maroons, and the FEU Tamaraws themselves, each toting a 1-1 win-loss card.
“Today’s game was a JV Casio show. One classic move there is the last layup he made. I think FEU just froze, just stood and thought he would just dribble that ball and suddenly a burst of speed from him,” remarked DLSU Coach Franz Pumaren, recalling one of the several spectacular moves displayed by Casio in the game.
Casio waxed hot early in the ballgame, scoring 10 of De La Salle’s 18 points in the first quarter. But Far Eastern was far from being fazed, as Marnel Baracael, Mark Barroca and JR Cawaling spearheaded the team’s offense to keep the game close at the end of the first quarter, 18-17, with De La Salle leading by a hairline.
Knowing how Casio is integral to the Green Archers’ offense, the Tamaraws concentrated the defense on the sweet shooting guard and held him scoreless in the second quarter. True enough, the Green Archers likewise struggled from the field and was limited to a lone field goal in the first six minutes of the second canto. While the green and white squad groped for form, the green and gold squad played well in both ends of the court en route to a halftime lead, 32-29.
Fired up by their superb performance in the 1st half, the Tamaraws stormed to an early 8-point margin, 55-47, at the 8:15 mark of the 3rd quarter, courtesy of the back to back plays of Cawaling and Baracael. But the ever reliable Casio scored on a layup off a steal and drilled in two free throw shots to douse cold water to the blazing 3rd quarter opening of the Tamaraws.
Despite the Casio counter shots, the Tamaraws remained in the driver’s seat capitalizing on the Green Archers’ early entry in the penalty stage.
But as the 3rd quarter wound down to its final four minutes, the Green Archers shocked and awed the Tamaraws when it unleashed its deadly outside shooting. DLSU point guard Simon Atkins started the Green Archers’ 3-point barrage, which was immediately followed by Casio’s 2nd triple of the game. Much to the delight of the green and white gallery, the 6’5 Rico Maierhoffer converted a rare three-pointer to equalize the game at 47 all. Peejay Barua ended the quarter for the Green Archers with his own version of a trifecta, and grabbed the lead for DLSU, 50-47.
In the final quarter, the Tamaraws clawed their way back into the game via the triumvirate of Barroca, Fernandez, and Cawaling, and tied the ballgame for the last time, 54-all. The Green Archers retaliated in an explosive fashion with back-to-back triples from Casio and Sophomore Bader Malabes, upping the lead of La Salle to 6, 60-54, and sending the green and white gallery to a wild roar, 5:36 remaining in the fourth. The unrelenting Tamaraws mounted a 5-0 run of their own to bridge the gap anew, 60-59.
A crucial point in the game came when the Tamaraws were slapped with a technical foul, giving two free throws plus ball possession for the Green Archers. This paved the way for a 7-0 run by the Green Archers going into the final two minutes of the game. The Tamaraws tried to stage a final stand. But another technical foul for unsportsmanlike conduct and a passing error finally crushed FEU’s chances of snatching the victory from their counterparts.
Casio led the three-point assault of the Green Archers, making 3 of the 8 treys the team made. Casio also carried the Green Archers’ performance from the free throw line. The team shot a much improved 19 of 29, on account of Casio’s nearly flawless 12 of 13 clip from the charity line.
The Green Archers next assignment is on July 17 against the UST Growling Tigers.
GAME NOTES: A number of Green Archer supporters continue to show disgust over the questionable technical foul meted out on Coach Franz Pumaren by Commissioner Chito Narvasa before the start of the DLSU-ADMU game last Sunday, for failure of the former to wear his UAAP ID. The green and white gallery wore a large ID with the words “Got No ID?” and a big letter T printed beside it. The bottom portion of the ID reads “Applicable only for the Defending Champions,” alluding to the selective enforcement of the new rule. But in his post game interview, Coach Pumaren shrugged off the issue, and stressed that the “the team is not at all affected.” Coach Pumaren merely views the uncanny call as a bad vibe that tainted the start of the Green Archer’s quest for a back-to-back crown. But for the team, the bad vibe was already casted by their rousing victory over the Tamaraws.
DLSU 73 – Casio 29, Maierhofer 11, Barua 9, Malabes 7, Atkins 5, Walsham 4, Mangahas 4, Webb 2, Villanueva 2, Revilla 0, Bagatsing 0, Ferdinand 0
FEU 62 – Baracael 14, Cawaling 9. Barroca 9, Cervantes 7, Ramos 7, Fernandez 7, Adolfo 3, Kave 2, Alisbo 2, Knuttel 2, Sanga 0
Quarter scores: 18-17; 29-32; 50-47; 73-62