Quiambao puts indelible imprint on La Salle’s UAAP championship run
On the grandest stage playing for the biggest stakes, Kevin Quiambao came up with his valedictory performance to an MVP season and led La Salle to the UAAP Season 86 title, ending a seven-year drought for a program so formidable yet one that seemed out of place early on.
Canning three free throws, coming up with a block and a steal—all in the dying seconds—just when the Green Archers needed them, Quiambao had a performance that will not be soon forgotten as La Salle pulled out a 73-69 decision of the University of the Philippines before a record 25,192 boisterous souls at Smart Araneta Coliseum in Cubao.
“Coach Topex [Robinson] always said that there is no tomorrow. (That we) think of every possession like you’re holding gold, so we worked for it,” Quiambao said. “For me, as one of the reliables on the team, I needed to step up in a way that I can, whether it was on-ball or off-ball. I just did my job.”
Quiambao stepped up in a big way, shooting 24 points and grabbing nine rebounds, to be bestowed another accolade as the Finals MVP, which will come in well with his top rookie award last season and the MVP handed to him before the Archers were blown off the floor by the Fighting Maroons in Game 1.
The Maroons lost in the Finals for the second straight year after winning both Game 1s. Last season, UP also took the series opener against Ateneo and more than a week ago, carved out a 97-67 win that made it look that a sweep was easy.
But the Archers turned things around just as quick with Quiambao coming off the bench in an 82-60 win and then dominating in the rubber match that had the 6-foot-7 forward emotional even before the final buzzer sounded.
Evan Nelle backed up the MVP with 12 points, six rebounds and seven assists while Michael Phillips five points and six rebounds.
Topex Robinson celebrates his first UAAP title.• For more #UAAPSeason86 Finals Game 3 updates, visit https://inqnews.net/UAAPFInalsGame3
Posted by Inquirer Sports on Wednesday, December 6, 2023
Meanwhile, the women’s basketball crown found its way back to España after 17 years after Tantoy Ferrer led the University of Santo Tomas to a 71-69 victory over National U in their version of a Game 3 earlier.
Ferrer scored nine points in the fourth period and the Tigresses roared back from 15 points down to end the Bulldogs’ seven-year reign.