UAAP: Kevin Quiambao delivers as La Salle gets back at UP
MANILA, Philippines — Kevin Quiambao took matters into his own hands, scoring 13 of his 18 points in the payoff period to lift La Salle past University of the Philippines, 82-80, boosting their Final Four hopes in the UAAP Season 85 men’s basketball tournament on Sunday at Mall of Asia Arena.
Quiambao, who had two points in the first half, refused to have another bad game like in their first meeting last October, taking charge in the fourth quarter and displaying nerves of steel as he sank two crucial free throws that completed the Green Archers’ comeback from a 12-point, 49-37 deficit early in the third quarter.
The rookie big man kickstarted a 13-5 run to end the third period that trimmed the deficit to four, 63-59, before La Salle unleashed an 8-1 blast to take a 69-66 with 5:40 remaining. James Spencer stopped the bleeding for UP to tie the game but Evan Nelle blocked his layup attempt on the next play.
The Green Archers forced four straight turnovers from the Fighting Maroons as Quiambao’s turnaround jumper and Mark Nonoy’s free throws built a 10-point lead, 79-69, with 1:14 left.
However, JD Cagulangan accounted for all points in UP’s 6-1 run to cut the lead down to two, 80-78, with 12.5 seconds left before La Salle made the stops and Quiambao sealed the win to finish with 18 points and nine rebounds.
Nonoy also stepped up with 15 points off three triples. CJ Austria had 10 points and four rebounds. Nelle delivered nine points, seven assists, and four rebounds, while Michael Phillips posted eight markers and 14 boards.
La Salle coach Derrick Pumaren was relieved to finally win one over UP since losing the season opener and getting eliminated in the Final Four in a heartbreaking Final Four last season. The win also tied his squad with Adamson in the fourth spot with a 5-6 record.
“I think I must give it to the guys. Proud of the way we played today. We got down by 12 points, but we still regrouped, and at the start of the game, I talked to them… We can beat UP, but we can beat them only if we play as a team, have that collective effort, everybody contributing,” Pumaren said.
“We know that they’re the No. 1 team, we know they’re really playing good basketball, so we must really play basketball too, and on defense we gotta make stops.”
The Fighting Maroons’ saw their seven-game winning run get snapped as the Green Archers also prevented them from securing at least a playoff for a twice-to-beat advantage, sliding to a 10-2 record.
Zavier Lucero led UP with 15 points and six rebounds. Carl Tamayo had 14 points and seven rebounds, James Spencer chipped in 12 points, six boards, and four assists, while Malick Diouf added 11 points and 11 rebounds.
LA SALLE 82 — Quiambao 18, Nonoy 15, Austria 10, Nelle 9, M. Phillips 8, Abadam 8, B. Phillips 5, Nwankwo 5, Macalalag 4, Estacio 0, Cortez 0.
UP 80 — Lucero 15, Tamayo 14, Spencer 12, Diouf 11, Cagulangan 8, Alarcon 8, Gonzales 4, Galinato 4, Calimag 4, Abadiano 0, Ramos 0.
Quarters: 14-18, 35-41, 59-63, 82-80.
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