La Salle stuns Adamson in OT to end first round in solo fourth
De La Salle maintained sole ownership of the fourth spot after stunning Adamson University, 79-78, in overtime at the end of the first round of eliminations in the UAAP Season 81 men’s basketball tournament Saturday at Mall of Asia Arena.
Aljun Melecio led the way for the Green Archers with 22 points, including a floater that sent the game into overtime, 64-all, with 13.6 left in regulation.
The Archers recovered from their 71-55 loss to archrival Ateneo and chalked up a 4-3 record creating distance from fifth-running University of Santo Tomas and University of the Philippines, who have similar 3-4 slates.
Adamson, meanwhile, dropped to a 5-2 record and settled for a three-way tie with Ateneo and Far Eastern University for the first seed.
The Green Archers wasted no time in taking control of overtime racing to a 9-0 run to take a 73-64 lead after Justine Baltazar’s free throws with 2:08 remaining.
Adamson soared back and cut the lead to just two, 77-75, after Sean Manganti’s three with 18.1 seconds left but time ultimately went by the Green Archers’ side.
Jerrick Ahanmisi’s last ditch three for the final score line didn’t matter much as there was just 0.5 seconds remaining.
La Salle head coach Louie Gonzalez said they took lessons from their loss to the Blue Eagles and implemented what they’ve learned against the Soaring Falcons.
“We made sure whatever we learned from the Ateneo game we would correct for this one and this is the end of the first round so we should already be competing,” said Gonzalez in Filipino. “This is the middle of the season so we should already be competitive and that there should be chemistry on the floor.”
“Good thing the composure was there, and although there were glitches in the end because no matter what happens Adamson will push you to the limit.”
La Salle’s main fault in its loss to the Blue Eagles was it relied too much on just one scorer and that changed in against the Falcons as Melecio received much needed support from big men Baltazar and Santi Santillan.
Baltazar had 16 points, 10 rebounds, and five blocks while Santillan had 16 points, eight in the fourth, nine boards, and two blocks.
Ahanmisi finished with 27 points and seven rebounds for the Falcons while Manganti finished with 23 points and seven boards.
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.