Green Archers live another day

DE LA SALLE got to live another day after disarming University of the Philippines (UP) of its twice-to-beat edge, 83-80, in Final Four action of the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 84 men’s basketball tournament on Wednesday at the Mall of Asia Arena.

The win-or-go-home rubber match for a slot in the Finals will be on Friday.

“The boys really played hard today. They played 40 minutes of solid basketball, ”head coach Derrick Pumaren of his Green Archers, who are the No. 3 seeds in the semifinals. “It was a disciplined effort and everyone was on the same page today.”

De La Salle was in control most of the way but got a scare when Ricci Rivero, Gerry Abadiano and Malick Diouf scored six straight points to pull UP to within six, 75-81, with 24.5 seconds remaining in the game.

Justine Baltazar was sent to the line De La Salle’s end but missed his charities.

Those misses set up an Abadiano triple to slash the Fighting Maroons deficit to just three, 78-81, with 13.4 ticks to go.

UP then tried Evan Nelle’s free-throw shooting which he split but enough to give the Green Archers a four-point lead with 12.1 seconds, 82-78, as Rivero flunked his attempt from deep in the ensuing play.

Nelle proved his steady hand on the big stage with 26 points on 8-of-13 shooting from the field to go with seven assists, six rebounds and three steals.

Baltazar chipped in 15 points and 18 rebounds with three assists and two blocks, while Kurt Lojera had 11 points, five rebounds and four assists. Trailing by 11 at the half, the Fighting Maroons opened the third quarter with a 5-2 exchange to inch within 42-50.

But the Green Archers responded with a 16-2 attack — highlighted by a rare four-point play by Nelle — for a 22-point advantage with a 2:25 left in the third for a 66-44 count.

UP answered with 11 straight points to trail by 11 points, 55-66, after the period.

Diouf and Rivero each had 18 points apiece for the Fighting Maroons with Diouf grabbing 20 rebounds with three blocks. Rivero also got eight rebounds with five blocks.

Carl Tamayo shot poorly — 2 of 14 to contribute only seven points for UP.

Key cog CJ Cansino did not play because of a bone bruise he acquired in UP’s win against Ateneo last Sunday.

Leave a Comment