La Salle Clinches Twice To Beat (huhuhu :'()

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Sweet revenge. The De La Salle University (DLSU) Green Archers will definitely have a series of good night sleeps after shutting down their arch-nemesis Ateneo de Manila University (ADMU) Blue Eagles with a sweet 70-69 victory on September 18 at the Big Dome giving the former a twice-to-beat advantage and forcing the latter to a must-win battle with last season’s champions, University of Santo Tomas (UST) Growling Tigers.

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Joseph Evans “JV” Casio spurred the run of the Archers as he was hot inside and out connecting 3/7 or 42.9% from beyond the arc, a decent 5/11 or 45.5% field goals and a perfect 2/2 free throws.

Rico Maierhofer on the other hand posted a double-double with 13 points and 12 rebounds despite hitting his knee-ankle area after driving into the rim 2:52 minutes left in the first quarter.

Ateneo was rather more aggressive in the first half with Kirk Long giving the Archers headaches with his hoop drives.

The Blue Eagles limited the Archers’ scoring in the second quarter to 16 as compared to their 19 points production. Zion Lattere gave the Blue and White squad its biggest lead 32-24 by driving inside the lane and converting a bucket less than 3 minutes left in the first half.

A 4-0 rally was hoisted by Casio and Barua to inch closer to Ateneo and avoided a possible double digit bubble at the end of the half 32-28.

Severino Baclao was haunted with early fouls that limited his game and affected the execution plays of the Katipunan-based squad giving the Taft-based squad more opportunities to penetrate inside.

La Salle regained its composure in the third with Casio and Maierhofer continuously converting points for the rather dominant green crowd.

PJ Barua sparked the La Sallian crowd with his 3-point conversion giving La Salle a 35-34 lead early in the third. Rabbah Al- Hussaini answered with a field goal, thus giving back the lead to Ateneo.

Maierhofer converted two charities after Al-Hussaini’s foul that gave La Salle a four point advantage 40-36 with 5 minutes left in the third.

Chris Tiu uplifted the Blue Eagles crowd by converting a triple 3:50 minutes left. Eric Salamat further increased the lead of the Eagles to 5 with 42-47 less than 3 minutes left.

La Salle bounced back as Cholo Villanueva converted with a lay-up to cut the lead of the Eagles to three.

Casio broke the deadlock at 47-all with a fancy 3-pointer that gave La Salle the upper hand at the end of the third at 50-47.

After fishing a foul from Zion Laterre, Casio secured a 4-point lead for the Green and White squad in last two minutes of the regulation.

A useless foul was committed by Villanueva against Tiu that was converted by the latter into 2 easy charities cutting the lead of the Archers to two 69-67 less than two minutes left in the game.

Long fouled Villanueva in the dying seconds of the game wherein the latter split his charities thus gave the Archers a breathing space, 70-67.

Ateneo made a last huddle by converting a two-pointer .01 of a second left. The Archers jubilantly ended its two-game skid against the Eagles and clinched the twice-to-beat advantage.

La Salle will have to wait for the winner of the UST and ADMU match on Sunday, September 23, at the Araneta Coliseum.

Coach Franz Pumaren was rather satisfied with his team. “Last two games we lost but we showed a little bit of character, we got the number two spot. Right now I’m just happy on how we performed. It was a massive test on our part.”

He did not make a clear comment when asked who would win between Ateneo and UST. “We don’t choose whoever we play we just have to be prepared and ready to play.”


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