La Salle now the 'hunters' as UP draws first blood in UAAP Finals | Inquirer Sports

La Salle now the ‘hunters’ as UP draws first blood in UAAP Finals

/ 12:35 AM November 30, 2023

La Salle Green Archers in Game 1 of the UAAP Season 86 men's basketball Finals.

La Salle Green Archers in Game 1 of the UAAP Season 86 men’s basketball Finals. –MARLO CUETO/

MANILA, Philippines—If it wasn’t clear then, it is now and La Salle’s Evan Nelle knows it.

Before the season even started, coach Topex Robinson already declared the competition as a jungle. Hunt or be hunted. Robinson knew that to be true even before the first buzzer rang.


“It’s either you’re the hunter or the hunted. You’ll never know who’s the hunter and hunted here,” said the Green Archers coach before.


In the elimination round, the Green Archers served as the hunted for the most part. They had a huge target on their backs and every team salivated the idea of shooting down the league juggernauts.

But now, after absorbing a 97-67 demolition at the hands of University of the Philippines in Game 1 of the UAAP Season 86 Finals at Mall of Asia Arena on Wednesday, the picture is crystal clear.

“We’re the hunters now. We’re going to hunt them,” said a motivated Nelle fresh out of the dugout after the stinging loss.

“We have nothing to lose now. [Our] backs are against the wall so we’re going to come out blazing and give it everything we got. Nothing to lose anymore. Game 1 jitters are done. We’re here. We’ll see them in Game 2.”

The graduating guard looked very eager after heading out of the showers. It’s like he wanted to put his jersey on and hit the court one more time.


Only scoring eight points on a poor field goal shooting clip of 30.8 percent, it’s no surprise that Nelle is more than eager to redeem himself the quickest way possible.

Nelle was itching to get revenge. Nelle looked like a hunter, searching for his new prey.

But he’ll have to wait until they get to Araneta Coliseum. Hunting season is on Sunday and the Green Archers have to hunt down the plethora of guards in the Fighting Maroons’ camp.

La Salle guard Evan Nelle shoots past UP defenders in Game 1 of the UAAP men's basketball finals

La Salle guard Evan Nelle shoots past UP defenders in Game 1 of the UAAP men’s basketball finals. –MARLO CUETO/

“I played them a lot so I think their shots were just falling. Their efforts were there. They outhustled us, that’s for sure.”

“I really just think it went their way and nothing much. I just want to review the tapes. I want to see what’s up. I’m still lost but we’ll come up with something. We’ll see what went wrong with us, see what we can adjust on and on to game two.”

JD Cagulangan, who he faced multiple times in his career at this point, balled out with 11 points and three assists. Guards Harold Alarcon and Gerry Abadiano meant business too, finishing with 21 and 10 points, respectively.

Out of all the things a player can feel after a lopsided blowout, dejection and despair will surely be two of them.

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Not Nelle. He’s been here long enough to know that anything can happen. From San Beda to La Salle, he’s been in the season-ending series.

“It’s a series for a reason,” Nelle said.

TAGS: De La Salle Green Archers, Evan Nelle, Topex Robinson, UAAP Season 86, UP Fighting Maroons

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