De La Salle University put defending champion University of the Philippines’ seven-game winning streak to a screeching halt in a narrow, 82-80, escape to bolster its Final Four bid in the UAAP Season 85 men’s basketball tournament Sunday night at the MOA Arena.
The Green Archers displayed nerves of steel, hanging tough in the last 65 seconds of the game to weather the semis-bound Fighting Maroons’ final push to salvage the game before walking away with their second straight win for a 5-6 win-loss record to tie Adamson University at fourth spot.
“I think I must give it to the guys. Proud of the way we played today. We got down by 10, 12 points, but we still regrouped, and the start of the game, I talked to them… We can beat UP, but we can beat them only if we play as a team, have that collective effort, everybody contributing,” La Salle coach Derrick Pumaren said.
Kevin Quiambao fueled the Green Archers’ telling 10-0 run that broke a 69-69 deadlock to go up 79-69 with 1:13 left. La Salle also forced UP to commit four straight turnovers in that stretch that shifted the momentum to the Green Archers’ favor.
However, the Fighting Maroons refused to go down without a fight with JD Cagulangan completing a three-point play and James Spencer hitting a three to cut their deficit to just four, 79-75, with 23.7 seconds left. Quiambao split his foul shots in the next La Salle possesion before Cagulangan banked in a triple with 12.5 ticks left to draw closer, 80-78.
Quiambao then hit two more charities with 11.3 seconds left before UP center Malick Diouf made a basket for the final count.
Quiambao scored 13 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter, Mark Nonoy had 15 points while CJ Austria got 10 markers for the Green Archers, who forced UP to commit 21 turnovers that they converted to 26 points.
The Fighting Maroons absorbed their second loss in 12 games but remained on top of standings.
Zavier Lucero led three other UP players in double figures with 15 points. Carl Tamayo had 14 markers and pulled down seven boards, Spencer got 12 while Diouf had 11 markers and 11 rebounds for the Fighting Maroons.
In the other game, Adamson University boosted its semifinals bid after beating University of the East, 74-64, in a game that saw the surprising return of ace scorer Jerom Lastimosa albeit less than a minute.
The Falcons shackled the Red Warriors to just seven points in the second quarter and even built a 22-point separation in the payoff period on their way to moving up to solo fourth spot with a 5-6 record.
Adamson poured 27 points in the second quarter that gave the Falcons enough cushion to keep UE at bay.
“It really helped us a lot because we didn’t play that good in the second half. It was actually the only quarter that we won, the second quarter. It gave us enough cushion for us to play not-so-good in the second half. But players should learn from that,” Falcons coach Nash Racela said.
Didat Hanapi led Adamson with 13 points on 5-of-7 shooting clip while Lenda Douanga got 13 markers and seven rebounds. Cedrick Manzano posted a double-double of 11 points and 12 boards with two blocks and an assist while JM Salabat added 10 markers for the Falcons, who opened a 63-41 gap in the fourth quarter.
Lastimosa, who was earlier reported to likely miss the rest of the season due to a dislocated right foot, played for 32 seconds and scored two points from the foul line in the last 18.5 ticks of the match. He entered the game with just 30.4 seconds left in the second quarter and again late in the fourth.
UE absorbed its third loss in a row for a 4-8 card tied with Far Eastern University.
Luis Villegas scored 20 points with six assists and two rebounds while Kyle Paranada and Gani Stevens chipped in with 14 markers each.
Adamson (74) — Hanapi 13, Douanga 13, Manzano 11, Sabandal 10, Flowers 7, Torres 6, Colonia 4, Yerro 3, Manlapaz 3, Barcelona 2, Lastimosa 2, Jaymalin 0, Barasi 0, Fuentebella 0, W. Magbuhos 0.
UE (64) — Villegas 20, Stevens 14, K. Paranada 14, N. Paranada 8, Payawal 6, Sawat 2, Pagsanjan 0, Tulabut 0, Remogat 0, Antiporda 0, Guevarra 0, Gilbuena 0, Lingo-Lingo 0.
Quarters: 15-16, 42-23, 56-41, 74-64.
LA SALLE (82) — Quiambao 18, Nonoy 15, Austria 10, Nelle 9, M. Phillips 8, Abadam 8, B. Phillips 5, Nwankwo 5, Macalalag 4, Estacio 0, Cortez 0.
UP (80) — Lucero 15, Tamayo 14, Spencer 12, Diouf 11, Cagulangan 8, Alarcon 8, Gonzales 4, Galinato 4, Calimag 4, Abadiano 0, Ramos 0.
Quarters: 14-18, 35-41, 59-63, 82-80.
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