La Salle holds off UP in Filoil opener
De La Salle University drew impressive outings from its new recruits to hold off University of the Philippines, 82-79, at the start of the 2018 Filoil Flying V Preseason Cup at Filoil Flying V Centre in San Juan.
Kiwi import Kira Samuel and Fil-Aussie Brandon Bates impressed in their preseason debuts, combining for 21 points and 10 rebounds for the Green Archers.
The 6-foot-8 Samuel had a near double-double with 12 points and seven rebounds while Bates added nine points, three rebounds and one block.
“Actually, I’m not putting a lot of pressure on the two, but they delivered,” said DLSU coach Louie Gonzalez.
Key returnee Justine Baltazar topscored for La Salle with 16 points that went with six rebounds, three assists and two blocks while Andrei Caracut chipped in 11 points on 3-of-5 shooting from the three-point area.
“The win is just a bonus for us because the team is still really a work in progress,” said Gonzalez.
The Archers blew a double-digit lead in the fourth quarter but the Maroons made one last push to pull within one, 80-79, after a Diego Dario 3-pointer with 4.5 seconds left.
Samuel hit two free throws to give La Salle a three-point cushion before Paul Desiderio took a half-court heave as time ran out.
Juan Gomez de Liano led all scorers with 21 points built on five triples on top of six assists while Dario had 16 points. Nigerian import Bright Akhuetie, the transferee from University of Perpetual Help, finished with 12 points and 15 rebounds.
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