UAAP: With Evan Nelle out, La Salle’s trusty back-up guards step up
MANILA, Philippines — La Salle starting point guard Evan Nelle didn’t play when his team earned its first victory in the UAAP Season 85 men’s basketball tournament due to a fever, but Mark Nonoy and Penny Estacio provided quality minutes to fill in the hole.
The Green Archers head coach Derick Pumaren bared that Nelle was under the weather since their practice last Monday. But La Salle still vented its ire on University of Santo Tomas, 83-63, to barge in the win column on Wednesday at Philsports Arena.
“He has a fever since yesterday. He practiced Monday, but he was under the weather, then yesterday he did not practice. We thought that resting him might help, but he still has a fever,” said Pumaren on Nelle, who had nine points and five assists in their 72-69 loss to University of the Philippines last Saturday.
Pumaren praised Nonoy, who started and provided stability with three points, four assists, four steals, and two rebounds, and ended up as a plus 27 for his team, and Estacio chipping in six points and four boards as a backup point guard.
“That’s the beauty of the game. When somebody’s out, somebody steps up. Mark Nonoy filled in Evan’s starting role. Penny also had a good game today as a backup for Nonoy. I’m really happy and I hope they keep doing that,” he said.
Compared to last game’s meltdown to UP, the La Salle coach credited the whole team for executing their game plan and “doing a good job” on defense, especially Schonny Winston and Earl Abadam, who held UST star Nic Cabanero to 10 points on 5-of-20 shooting.
“The team was able to do a good job on Cabañero. He exploded for 33 points in the first game, so we were ready for him. It was really a total team effort. I know that Deschon and Earl played defense on him, but the guys were helping, and I’m happy with the way we played defense today,” Pumaren said.
“We were able to execute against the zone, which we did not do against UP. We ended up with just perimeter passing and trying just to shoot the three-point shot. Today we just attacked the zone.”
La Salle eyes its second win against its fierce rival, Ateneo, on Sunday at Smart Araneta Coliseum.