UAAP: La Salle regroups, fends off Adamson
MANILA, Philippines — La Salle banked on timely plays down the stretch to survive a gritty Adamson side, 61-58, in the UAAP Season 84 men’s basketball tournament on Saturday at Mall of Asia Arena.
Schonny Winston and Evan Nelle came to the rescue late, providing much-needed baskets after the Green Archers went on a drought and trailed by as many as eight, 53-45, following an 18-2 Falcons run capped by a basket from Cedrick Manzano.
Winston scored five straight points to bring back the lead to La Salle, 56-55, while Nelle sank a clutch triple for a 59-55 breather with 16.3 seconds left.
Justine Baltazar also came up big for the Archers on the defensive end with a pair of crucial blocks, including a denial on Keith Zaldivar’s potential game-tying 3-pointer to seal La Salle’s fifth win in seven games for the third seed at the end of the first round.
Zaldivar had hit a triple earlier that trimmed La Salle’s lead down to one, 59-58, with 10.4 ticks left before Joaqui Manuel made a couple of freebies that made it, 61-58.
“I think we lost focus when we got the 10 point lead (in the third quarter). We thought the game was over. We didn’t make stops and we relaxed on defense,” said La Salle coach Derick Pumaren. “We battled back on defense, we made stops and that’s why we got back in the game. Balti, everybody, it was a great team effort defensively. It was defense that won us the game. It was a tough win for us.”
Manuel scored 10 of his season-high 14 in the third quarter, where he gave La Salle a 43-33 lead in the first five minutes of the period. He shot 5-of-7 from the field and grabbed six rebounds.
Nelle delivered 12 points off four three-pointers on top of three rebounds, two steals and an assist. Winston had 10 points, while Baltazar added six points, five boards, four assists and two blocks.
Adamson absorbed another heartbreaker after its 65-66 loss to FEU, losing six of its seven games in the first round for seventh place.
Jerom Lastimosa carried the Falcons anew with 15 points, seven assists and three rebounds. Lenda Douanga put up a double-double of 11 points and 11 rebounds, while Joem Sabandal added 10 markers.
LA SALLE 61 — Manuel 14, Nelle 12, Winston 10, M. Phillips 8, Lojera 8, Baltazar 6, Galman 3, Nwanwko 0, Nonoy 0, B. Phillips 0.
ADAMSON 58 — Lastimosa 15, Douanga 11, Sabandal 10, Hanapi 9, Zaldivar 5, Manzano 4, Magbuhos 2, Peromingan 2, Yerro 0, Colonia 0, Calisay 0, Erolon 0, Maata 0, Jaymalin 0.
Quarters: 15-15, 30-26, 45-42, 61-58.