La Salle survives scare, eliminates NU
MANILA, Philippines – The La Salle Green Archers held off a late rally before hacking out an 84-77 triumph over the relentless NU Bulldogs in the UAAP Season 81 men's basketball tournament at the Araneta Coliseum on Wednesday, November 7.
The Bulldgos had threatened within a point with less than 3 minutes remanining, 75-74, but the Archers banked on a few crucial stops and closed out with a 9-3 spurt, highlighted by a clutch trey from rookie Joaqui Manuel.
Santi Santillan dropped 18 points to lead the Archers, who remained in the hunt for the twice-to-beat advantage with a third-running 8-4 record.
The Archers' win also booted out the Bulldogs from Final Four contention as the young squad fell to 3-9.
After multiple exchanges of scoring runs through 3 quarters, the Archers created a small 7-point cushion off a Santillan putback, 75-68, with just 4:15 to go in regulation.
However, the Bulldogs staged a late comeback capped by the hot-shooting Dave Ildefonso's triple and and-one layup that cut the lead to a point, 74-75, at the 2:45 mark.
After a few crucial stops on defense, La Salle pulled away one more time in a spurt punctuated by a clutch trey from Manuel, 82-75, with 1:14 left.
Aljun Melecio had 13 markers and 6 boards and Andrei Caracut likewise scored 13 for the Archers, who also narrowly escaped the Bulldogs, 80-76, in the first round.
The blue-chip rookie duo of Dave Ildefonso and John Lloyd Clemente led the Bulldogs with 20 and 19 points, respectively.
La Salle 84 – Santillan 18, Melecio 13, Caracut 13, Baltazar 11, Manuel 10, Dyke 6, Go 6, Bates 4, Serrano 3, Capacio 0, Corteza 0.
NU 77 – Ildefonso D. 20, Clemente 19, Gallego 7, Yu 7, Ildefonso S. 5, Rike 4, Gaye 4, Joson 4, Sinclair 3, Diputado 2, Malonzo 2, Aquino 0, Galinato 0, Morido 0, Salim 0.
Quarters: 17-13, 38-40, 65-62, 84-77.