UAAP Finals: Francis Escandor, Joshua David give La Salle big lift in Game 2
MANILA, Philippines — Francis Escandor and Joshua David were among the unsung heroes for La Salle in keeping its title hopes alive and forcing a rubber match against University of the Philippines in the UAAP Season 86 men’s basketball Finals on Sunday.
The Green Archers drew big performances from Escandor and David, who sparked their 82-60 win in Game 2 in front of 20,863 spectators at Smart Araneta Coliseum.
Escandor was a revelation for La Salle as he shot 4-of-5 from the three-point line to finish with a game-high 14 points including the trey in the final seconds to cap their vengeful victory.
“I’m just really, really happy that we got the win. Coming from a big loss, we really wanted to bounce back. No matter what our mindset was, we didn’t want to lose this game. We really wanted to win and we showed that we really wanted to win,” said Escandor.
David provided the boost off the bench with 12 points on four 3-pointers to make the most of his 13 minutes and 46 seconds of playing time.
“I’m so happy because we were able to bounce from losing by a big margin in Game 1. The biggest factor was coach Topex instructing us to take the shot when we’re open and shoot with confidence. It was a big push to us, hearing those words,” said David in Filipino.
La Salle coach Topex Robinson heaped praise toward the unsung heroes including CJ Austria, who finished with 11 points and five rebounds, for making the most of their opportunity.
“They just had the opportunity what we’ve discussed during the preparation for this game 2 is, you know, when you have a chance to really take that shot, yeah, you have to shoot it with confidence. Those are the shots that they’ve been really working on during the games, and we just have to give him the green light to really shoot it,” said Robinson, whose squad bounced back from a 97-67 beating in the Finals opener last Wednesday.
The first-time La Salle coach didn’t only credit their scoring but also their defense, which led to La Salle’s second-half surge.
“Luckily it went in, you know, but more than that, it’s really more of the way they really defended the wings and the guards of UP. Give them the scoring. But I guess for them what worked for them was they were playing defense,” he said.
Escandor wanted to show support to main guys newly-minted MVP Kevin Quiambao and Evan Nelle, who struggled from the field but had 12 rebounds, 10 assists, and five steals.
“Basically me and Josh, we just wanna support Kevin in the best way we can and today, our shots felt good. We were making our shots and I think that’s what kept us going and from there on, basically, we have the best player in the league with us and also we have Evan Nelle. So, we’re just trying to support them as much as we can and today, I think we did a good job,” Escandor said.
La Salle seeks to end a seven-year title drought and claim its elusive 10th title in Game 3 on Wednesday at the Big Dome.