La Salle eager to get better after ‘disappointing’ loss to UP
MANILA, Philippines—De La Salle was on the cusp of getting into stable territory in the UAAP Season 82 men’s basketball tournament and all it had to do was hold off University of the Philippines.
The Green Archers led most of the game and carried a 59-52 buffer heading into the fourth, but the Fighting Maroons had other plans.
UP outscored the Green Archers 20-12 in the final frame with Juan Gomez De Liaño hitting the game-winning three-pointer with 7.8 seconds to play.
La Salle active consultant Jermaine Byrd was evidently distraught with how the game ended and all his team could do after was learn from the heartbreak and move on.
“It was very disappointing, but at the end of the day we got to continue to get better,” said Byrd Wednesday at Mall of Asia Arena. “We have to get ready for the game on Saturday [against University of Santo Tomas] and this was another learning experience for our team.”
The Green Archers could’ve etched a 3-3 record but instead, they fell to 2-4 and tied Far Eastern University at the fifth seed while the Fighting Maroons improved to second-best 5-1 behind unbeaten Ateneo at 6-0.
La Salle was ahead the whole fourth quarter but a couple of missed free throws from Jamie Malonzo allowed UP to stay within striking distance, 71-69.
After a mad scramble underneath UP’s basket, Aljun Melecio got hold of the ball but was trapped even before crossing the halfcourt line forcing him to throw the ball to Malonzo in hopes of beating the eight-second clock.
Malonzo, though, sent the ball back to Melecio who in turn tried to heave it to Kurt Lojera.
Juan Gomez De Liaño, however, read the pass perfectly, allowing him to intercept the play leading to his three-pointer that gave UP the win.
Byrd, though, didn’t persecute Melecio for the turnover and that Gomez De Liaño just happened to react correctly.
“I mean the give the kid credit, we got the rebound and he was trying to advance it up the court before it was a violation,” said Byrd. “Juan made a hell of a play and he hit a clutch shot.”