The Green Archers overcame an eleven-point deficit in the halftime to win over the dangerous NU Bulldogs, 79-67 in the UAAP Men’s Basketball Tournament at the Philsports Arena.
After a shaky start in the first quarter and going sour in the 2nd quarter, scoring a mere 12 points, the defending champions exploded with 31 big markers in the 3rd canto and limited their rivals to only 9 points, to grab and never relinquish the upper hand. JV Casio led the cause for the Green Archers with 22 points, 5 assists and 2 rebounds.
“May mga games talaga na ganun ang start. Pero ang importante, we have to stay focused. It’s how we bounced back. I talked to my teammates, if we don’t work together, we’ll end up just like in the UE game,” said the DLSU point guard referring to their first round loss to the Red Warriors.
Just like in their first round game, the NU Bulldogs started strong and kicked off with a 9-0 run against the Green Archers. But Casio spearheaded De La Salle’s 16-7 run midway in the first to equalize the ballgame at 16-all. But the Bulldogs were unperturbed by the recovery of the Archers as they continued to drill in the baskets and ended the first quarter on top 22-19.
The Bulldogs continued to wax hot in the 2nd quarter, but the Green Archers’ woes seemed to never stop. The Green Archers featured in one bungled play after another. This allowed the Sampaloc-based squad to erect a 15 point margin, its biggest in the ballgame, with 4:51 left before halftime. The Taft-based squad regrouped and managed to slash the lead to only 7. But the determined Bulldogs never relented and maintained their composure to finish the 1st half with an eleven point lead, 42-31.
At the start of the 2nd half, the team figured in a shootout, with each trading baskets. But a Casio 3 point in the 5:55 mark changed the complexion of the game. The Archers then streaked into an 18-0 run, with Casio scoring 9 points in the said run, to wrest the lead for good. The Bulldogs were at a loss on what had befallen them, and never recovered after that sensational 3rd quarter of De La Salle.
As the Archers’ took the steam out of the bewildered NU Bulldogs, the final quarter saw the defending champions zooming to a 17-point lead, 78-61 highlighted by the spectacular dunk by sophomore Ferdinand from an assist by Casio to the delight of the La Salle gallery.
With the win, the Archers solidified their hold of 2nd slot in the standings at 8 wins 2 losses. The NU Bulldogs dropped to 2-8.
Meanwhile Coach Franz Pumaren confirmed that he will not be around in the last three games of the Green Archers (against UST, Adamson and Ateneo) as he will take a leave of absence to help the country’s stint in the Asian Youth Championships. Although this is already at the crucial stretch of the elimination games, he is confident that the team to be managed by Assistant Coach Jack Santiago can deliver. “I trust my players and the team is in good hands,” assured Coach Franz. “Coach Jack has been my assistant coach since 2002 and he is very familiar with the system,” the multi-titled coach added.
DLSU 79 – Casio 22, Barua 14, Revilla 8, Mangahas 7, Maierhofer 7, Malabes 6, Bagatsing 5, Villanueva 4, Ferdinand 4, Webb 2, Walsham 0, Mendoza 0
NU 67 – Asoro 19, Aguilar 11, Jahnke 10, Baloran 7, Luy 6, Ponferrada 4, Tungcul 3, Dela Cruz 3, Garcia 2, Catamora 2, Berry 0, Batac 0
Quarter Scores: 19-22; 31-42; 62-51; 79-67