UAAP: La Salle ousts NU as FEU claims last Final Four spot
MANILA, Philippines — La Salle shattered National University’s Final Four hopes, 76-65, in the UAAP Season 84 men’s basketball tournament on Sunday at Mall of Asia Arena.
Justine Baltazar and Schonny Winston sat out but the Green Archers dominated the Bulldogs with a 37-25 first half lead and stretched their lead to 15 in the third quarter, 44-29, with CJ Austria converting a lay-up at the 8:05 mark.
Joaqui Manuel stepped up with 20 points and five rebounds to fill in the void left by Baltazar as La Salle finished the eliminations with a 9-5 record in third place and also clinched the No.4 spot for Far Eastern University to complete the Final Four cast.
“I think they know that two of our starters are not playing today. The guys really stepped up,” said La Salle coach Derick Pumaren adding that he rested Baltazar due to a sprained ankle and Winston due to back spasms.
The Bulldogs tried to resuscitate their Final Four hopes in the final period, unleashing a 15-5 run capped by Michael Malonzo’s basket to cut down the lead to just one, 55-54, with 7:02 remaining.
But Manuel’s back-to-back three-pointers stopped the bleeding for the Green Archers and ignited a 17-6 run capped by Michael Phillips’ two-handed slam for a 72-60 breather with 1:25 left.
Phillips was also instrumental for La Salle with a double-double of 15 points and 15 rebounds. Kurt Lojera chipped in 11 points. Evan Nelle had seven points and dished out 11 assists, while Benjamin Phillips, Michael’s brother, made the most of his extended minutes, putting seven points and six boards.
The Bulldogs ended the season with a 6-8 record, failing to force a playoff for the last Final Four ticket against the FEU Tamaraws.
Rookie Jake Figueroa ended his rookie season with 20 points, 14 rebounds and six steals, while Malonzo had 13 points and seven boards in the loss.
DLSU (76) — Manuel 20, M. Phillips 15, Lojera 11, Nelle 7, B. Phillips 7, Nonoy 5, Cu 3, Nwankwo 3, Cuajao 3, Austria 2.
NU (65) — Figueroa 20, Malonzo 13, Enriquez 6, Mahinay 6, Torres 5, Tibayan 4, Yu 3, Felicilda 2, Joson 2, Manansala 2, Gaye 2, Minerva 0, Galinato 0, Clemente 0, Ildefonso 0.
Quarterscores: 15-11, 37-25, 54-48, 76-65