How La Salle reasserted its mastery over league-leading Ateneo

Photo by Flavius Dulce

After the victory over the Adamson Lady Falcons, Head Coach Ramil De Jesus said he wanted his squad to surprise rivals Ateneo De Manila University Lady Eagles anew in the second round. And surprise them they did as the Lady Spikers sent the Katipunan crew crashing back to Earth with a straight-sets beatdown.

Prior to the match, most fans (including me) anticipated a nip-and-tuck affair, but we were treated to a shocker, too. Standing at the front corner of the isle side-court, I expected a different Ateneo squad simply because they have long been wanting to exact revenge on DLSU – the team which they have not beaten since the second round of Season 79. It felt like it at the start. However, the brilliance of Coach RDJ and his staff was again on full display as the Lady Spikers shut their arch-nemeses down convincingly with their tricks.

La Salle showcased a masterful performance, removing doubts on the capabilities of the team winning its fourth consecutive title this year. The win over ADMU sent a warning to the rest of the league that DLSU is peaking just at the right time. No matter how bad they looked with their losses, the crown still sits in Taft. Perhaps, the Lady Spikers have now activated their championship mode?

The volleybelles in Green started with the most effective strategy that they have been using against the Lady Eagles: challenging their floor defense. Ateneo has vastly improved with its digging (currently at #4) and reception (#2), but La Salle still put them to the test. In the early moments of the first set, the Lady Eagles kept in-step with the defending champs. La Salle’s mentor could not wait any longer, so he pulled off one of his tricks immediately. May Luna checked in for Tin Tiamzon. Game changer. The fiery outside hitter caught the blue side off guard with her jump float serves. One of the sharpest of its kind I have ever seen. From my position at the Araneta Coliseum, that volleyball really looked like an arrow daggered to the heart. It was fast. You know it’s coming at you, but you just do not when and how fast it would strike down. From there began the destruction of Ateneo as Luna made a living at the service line. Most of her serves were not necessarily converted to aces, but they ruined the Lady Eagles first ball, hence the few chances to attack for ADMU. The Green and White had 8 service aces compared to Ateneo’s 3. La Salle also dominated the attacking department, 37-27. It is also important to note that the reigning champs limited their foes to only 3 attack points in the second set (25-13). A dismal performance to say the least for the second-best spiking team in the league.

Another bright spot for DLSU was Michelle Cobb’s setting. Her playmaking took away Ateneo’s main weapon: blocking. The Lady Eagles’ walls were non-existent, ending up with 0 kill block. On offense, Cobb made her middles and outside hitters work. She pressed the right buttons to counter ADMU’s defense. The only glaring stat is that the third-year setter only tallied 16 excellent sets, while her counterpart Deanna Wong had 21. The St. Scholastica alum’s decision-making paved the way for her spikers to be confident with their attacks. When the Lady Eagles established their blocking, the Lady Spikers would go for cut shots and long balls. When the opponents were a step slower on defense, then it was an opportunity for heavy hits. Heading into this game, La Salle’s spiking was a primary concern. However, thanks to Cobb’s magic, towers Des Clemente and Aduke Ogunsanya were able to punish from the middle, while the outside hitters especially Jolina Dela Cruz, kept the other side guessing.

On defense, it is still amazing how DLSU quickly turned things around. The net and floor defenses of the Lady Spikers were inconsistent coming into this game. However, they just flipped the switch against the Lady Eagles and reminded everyone who the best defensive team really is. Coach De Jesus’ crew built an impenetrable wall, posting 6 kill blocks. The team had lesser excellent receptions and digs, but that’s because of Ateneo’s disrupted offense, leading to multiple chance balls throughout the match. Much of the credit should also be given to CJ Saga who played her best game for La Salle this season. Saga is no Dawn Macandili (there will never be another Dawn and she admits that), but she got the job done. DLSU’s defensive ace played with a chip on her shoulder, and she stepped up with the rest of the team.

La Salle knows how to beat Ateneo. The Lady Spikers have been giving the Lady Eagles riddles that they still could not answer. The Taft squad’s mentor proved once again that he could mold his team to its best form, no matter the personnel he has. It’s just sticking to what has been working for the past three years, while also adding “surprises” here and there. Just like that, La Salle is back to its championship form and a 10-game winning streak was snapped. Coach Ramil revealed to us his magic, and we hope to see more along the way. Two games left in the eliminations and there is no holding back en route to that elusive four-peat.

DLSU’s last two assignments in the eliminations will be against UE and FEU on April 24 and 28, respectively.

On A Roll: Lady Spikers make quick work of Lady Falcons to boost Final Four bid

The De La Salle Univesity Lady Spikers had one thing in mind earlier today: DOMINATE.

And they did just that as the team swept the Adamson University Lady Falcons for their third consecutive win, 25-15, 25-16, 25-16, in the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

DLSU, very much, has control of its own destiny, and the victory only solidified the team’s bid in booking a return trip to the semis now that it holds an 8-3 record.

Rookie Jolina Dela Cruz took the spotlight, leading La Salle with 13 points and 10 excellent digs. Team captain Desiree Cheng chipped 11 points, while Aduke Ogunsanya posted nine. Back-up libero Ferlyn Nomil also shone on the defensive end with 13 excellent digs.

The Lady Spikers were all about business in the first set as they went off to a blazing 16-5 start and they never looked back.

In the second set, the Taft squad once again jumped to an 8-3 advantage, but the spikers from San Marcelino got their acts together to tie the match at 14. La Salle countered with its own version of a run behind the heroics of Dela Cruz and Tin Tiamzon as they eventually captured the set.

DLSU established another early lead in the third set. Adamson then cut the deficit down to two, but the Green and White shrugged off ADU’s rally and ballooned back its lead to six, 19-13, to take the fight out of the Lady Falcons.

The Lady Spikers locked down Adamson’s offense as leading scorers Trisha Genesis and Bern Flora only dropped seven points each.

La Salle next faces arch-nemesis ADMU Lady Eagles on Saturday, April 13 at 4 pm.

Green Spikers bow down to defending champs NU Bulldogs in straight sets

The De La Salle University Green Spikers fell anew to defending champs National University Bulldogs in straights sets, 20-25, 21-25, 16-25, in the UAAP Season 81 men’s volleyball tournament at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, Sunday.

National-U’s defense dominated in the first set as it created an early separation from La Salle, 13-8. JD Inocentes, then, provided spark off the bench to help the Green Spikers come to within three, but the Bulldogs kept the Taft squad at bay with Bryan Bagunas capping the first frame victory via an off-the-block hit.

DLSU had a better start in the second set, but it was still NU who raced to an 8-7 advantage heading into the first technical timeout. A string of errors from the Green side plus power hits from Bagunas and Angelo Almendras buried La Salle down by six, 12-18. The Green and White refused to let go as it rallied back to cut the deficit down to two in the latter moments of the set. The Bulldogs however spilled the hopes of the Green Spikers and sealed the two sets to none advantage.

The Jhocson-based crew looked to end La Salle in the third set. With another bunch of miscues, impenetrable defense, and booming hits, NU was on its way to victory in sweeping fashion. DLSU trailed by as much as eight, and eventually bowed down to the streaking National-U.

No Green Spiker barged into double digits in scoring with team captain Chris Dumago and JD Delos Reyes tallying only eight points apiece for La Salle. The team also dropped to a 4-7 record.

On the other hand, Bagunas erupted for 23 points in 21 attacks and two service aces, while Almendras and James Natividad added 11 and nine points respectively.

 

First loss is a much-needed reality check for the Lady Spikers

Photo by: Flavius Dulce

The three-time defending champs De La Salle University Lady Spikers came out the gate firing with a 3-0 streak to  begin UAAP Season 81. But last Saturday, the winning run ended after DLSU succumbed to the University of the Philippines Lady Maroons in five nail-biting sets.

Before we talk about last night’s stunning defeat, let’s first back-track a bit on La Salle’s 3-0 start:

The Taft squad opened its campaign with an imposing four-set victory over bitter rivals Ateneo de Manila University Lady Eagles. Everything looked well for the four-peat-seeking crew. Next, the girls still showed no signs of slowing down as they cruised past the Adamson University Lady Falcons via a sweep. In their third game, the Lady Spikers grinded out a win against the young National University Lady Bulldogs led by fearless rookie Cess Robles. DLSU committed 25 errors against against NU. 14 of those were from one of the areas where they put premium on: service line. That’s giving one free set to the opponents. With the dismal performance, I knew that Coach Ramil would not let his team get away with it. Later that night. the multi-titled mentor had the ladies practice their serving back at the Razon Sports Complex in DLSU.

Then came the anticipated match-up vs the Lady Maroons. Isa Molde and Tots Carlos were heroic against the Lady Spikers scoring 20 and 19 points, respectively. The supporting cast also covered for the Diliman crew. Maristela Layug chipped in 11 points,  Arielle Estranero dished out 38 excellent sets, while Remeln Altomea tallied 20 excellent digs. Everyone clicked for the Lady Maroons as they repeatedly fought back throughout the match to put stain on DLSU’s erstwhile immaculate record.

On the flip side, La Salle looked better with the serves. It won 11 points against UP’s 7. The Lady Spikers’ solid serving did damage whether it was an ace or it disrupted the defense, but they still committed 37 costly errors, 12 more miscues than the 25 they had against National U.

Were they shooting themselves on the foot in the last two games? Did they fall to the Lady Maroons only because of the errors? Yes and No.

The hard-earned win vs the Lady Bulldogs was a warning for La Salle. The spikers from Jhocson played their best game yet to give DLSU a run for its money. To be fair, the Lady Spikers had an off-night and they really did not look like themselves that game. Good thing for Coach De Jesus and his wards, talent and composure brought them to the top. Still, that was a sign that a loss was just lurking behind them.

Contra UP, the loss I saw coming finally arrived. Let’s highlight the 37 errors. We could pin the blame on that. However, the major reason why the Philippine Superliga Collegiate Grand Slam champs won was because of their hunger. The Lady Maroons just wanted it more. They played harder and simply looked like the better team. Numerous times they were down, but every time Coach Godfrey Okumu called a timeout, his squad responded and turned things around. And from here I’m going to echo what Coach Ramil said during the post-game presscon, “Mas gusto ng kalaban manalo kaya sabi ko sa kanila iyon ‘yung naging factor, mas ginusto nila manalo.” 

All was not bad for DLSU in that defeat though. The challenge from UP throughout the game scratched the surface of the former’s character as a team. May Luna, who struggled early in the match due to the mask she was wearing, redeemed herself in the last two sets.  Jolina Dela Cruz played like a vet as she provided points in the crucial moments when needed. The Palarong Pambansa standout was also stellar on defense with her breathtaking saves, while Team Captain Des Cheng, although having to earn every point she scored, displayed leadership to keep her teammates’ heads above water. Second, remember that La Salle is a rebuilding team. Chemistry is still not fluid with Des Clemente and the young guns coming into the picture. It lost MVPs in Kianny Dy and MaJoy Baron and five-star libero Dawn Macandili. Compare that to an intact UP squad. More than the loss, the Lady Spikers are still at the top with a 3-1 card, sharing first place with UP. Again, the Lady Maroons wanted it more. The foes came out victorious, but it did not sting too much because it’s a learning curve for the green side.

La Salle should thank UP for the loss. It should serve as a reality check that all teams will bring their A-game because they are the reigning and defending champions for three years now. It should serve as a reminder that they always have to be consistent no matter who they are up against. It should serve as a wake-up call for the team to play like champions every game.

Elimination round losses are not new to the Lady Spikers. Better to lose early, right?

All I know is that when they lose, Coach RDJ and his players bounce back hard. I believe that this chapter is still part of the same story that has been running for three years.

This is a different lineup altogether, but say it with me: In Coach Ramil We Trust.

FIVE-SET THRILLER: Lady Spikers suffer first loss of the season at the hands of Lady Maroons

La Salle finally met its match.

The De La Salle University Lady Spikers saw their unbeaten run end after yielding a five-set nail-biter to the University of the Philippines Lady Maroons, 25-21, 20-25, 21-25, 25-20, 12-25, in the UAAP Season 81 women’s volleyball tournament at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, Saturday.

It was a chess match early in the first set with UP surviving DLSU’s barrage of aces, 8-7. Neither teams had a comfortable lead as the Diliman squad countered every La Salle run, until Coach Ramil De Jesus called Nicole Alba’s number. Alba rained down three straight aces to completely take control of the game as DLSU cruised to the first set win.

UP, then, changed the tides in the next two sets. With the maroon crowd on their backs, the Lady Maroons kept on fighting to race to a 2-sets-to-1 lead. Errors did not help the cause of the Lady Spikers as they committed a combined 21 miscues in sets 2 and 3. In both frames, the Taft crew held early leads, but UP never stopped putting its foot on the gas pedal.

In the fourth set, both teams were once again caught in a nip and tuck affair. May Luna helped DLSU establish an 11-9 edge. UP, on the other hand, refused to wave the white flag as Maristela Layug’s ace knotted the set at 15-all. Coach De Jesus just pressed the right buttons from then on. Luna felt the heat in the fourth, not holding her punches to eventually force a decider with the help of Lourdes Clemente and Jolina Dela Cruz.

Suddenly, La Salle found itself staring at a three-point deficit, 11-8, in the fifth set. Luna and Dela Cruz anchored DLSU in a comeback as they scored back-to-back hits to tie the match at 12-all. Unfortunately, a mis-hit from Luna and attacks from Tots Carlos and Justine Dorog did the job for the Lady Maroons.

Supper rookie Dela Cruz posted a career-high with 19 points, while Aduke Ogunsanya tallied 13 markers. Team captain Des Cheng and Luna added 12 apiece for the Green and White.

On the flip side, Isa Molde eruppted for 20 points in 17 attacks and three blocks, while Carlos and Layug scored 19 and 11 markers, respectively. Arielle Estranero also dished out 38 excellent sets for the Lady Maroons.

DLSU had a total of 37 errors against UP’s 21.

The Lady Spikers now hold a 3-1 record and will next face the UST Tigresses at the San Juan Arena on Wednesday, March 6 4pm.

 

Green Spikers blank Fighting Maroons for first win of the season

Photo by Jempoy Pimentel

The De La Salle University Green Spikers finally barged into the win column after blanking the University of the Philippines Fighting Maroons, 25-21, 25-21, 25-18, in the UAAP Season 81 men’s volleyball tournament at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, Saturday.

Kieffer Reyes spearheaded the attack for the Green Spikers with 16 points in 11 attacks, four blocks, and an ace. Chris Dumago added 14 points, while Geraint Bacon chipped in seven.

In the first set, La Salle jumped to an early 8-6 lead over UP. The Taft squad never let and controlled the set from then on as Dumago completed a combination play to help his team establish a 19-14 advantage. The spikers from Diliman did not go down that easy, blasting a 3-0 later on to cut the deficit down to three, 23-20. Dumago and Reyes, though, took over to shrug off UP and to give DLSU the opening set victory.

The Fighting Maroons had a better start in the second frame, but the Green Spikers again raced to the 1st teachnical timeout with an 8-7 edge after a 4-0 run from DLSU. The Green Spikers smelled blood from prey as they capitalized on their opponents’ errors, while the vets delivered daggering hits to ballooon the La Salle advantage to six, 19-13. Anima, then, came off the bench to add firepower, connecting with a booming down-the-line kill for a 2-0 DLSU lead after two.

De La Salle University never looked back since.

In the third set, the Fighting Maroons kept in-step with the Green Spikers, trailing by only two, 8-6, early on. La Salle had other ideas as it blitzed to another 7-1 rally to build its biggest lead of the game by seven, 21-14. The Green Spikers wanted to put the nail on the coffin as Dumago took matters into his hands to deliver DLSU to its first victory in four outings.

Millette led the way for UP with 15 points. No other Fighting Maroons scored in double figures with Gian San Pascual only tallying seven, while Ruskin Ijiran and Jerry San Pedro contributed six points apiece.
Next up for La Salle is the UST Tigers on Wednesday, March 6 at 10AM.

Samuel debut not enough as La Salle falls prey to Ateneo anew

The De La Salle University Green Archers bowed to the Ateneo De Manila University for the second time around this season, 62-71, in the 81st edition of the UAAP Men’s Basketball Tournament at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, Sunday.

The Green Archers were men on a mission as they were more aggressive on both ends of the floor in the first quarter. Angelo Kouame also had foul trouble early on that forced Ateneo bring him to the bench immediately. Rookie big man Taane Samuel made his presence felt early, surprising everybody with his ball-handling abilities and excellent footwork as La Salle kept on pushing up the tempo to take a 22-18 edge after the first.

DLSU picked up from where they left off to begin the second frame. Aljun Melecio capped off a 7-3 run with a triple to help the Taft squad jump to a 29-21 lead with 6:41 remaining in the first half. However, the Blue Eagles clawed their way back even with a much smaller lineup as they tied the game at 35-all at halftime.

It was a chess match in the third canto as both teams continued to trade baskets. La Salle looked unfazed even with Kouame back in the rotation in the second half. Melecio, who struggled from the charity stripe all game long, hit 1 of 3 free throws, good enough for a 50-47 lead at the 3:20 mark. ADMU, though, closed out the third with a 7-0 blast to take over the lead, 54-50.

The Green and White played catch up the entire fourth quarter. Justin Baltazar hit a perimeter jumper to inch DLSU within four, 56-60, breaching through the halfway mark of the payoff period. The Archers just did not have enough left in the tank for one final push as the Eagles pulled away for good with Thirdy Ravena pulling up for a three-pointer to stretch their lead to 13, 71-58, with 2:05 to go and that proved to be the dagger. ADMU, then, held on as they clinched a twice-to-beat advantage heading into the final four.

Melecio led DLSU with 13 points on 4 of 11 shooting, seven rebounds and three assists. The La Salle sniper also only made 3 of 9 from the line. Baltazar added 12 points and eight rebounds, while Santi Santillan chipped in 10 and eight respectively. Samuel had eight points and rebounds on his first game as a Green Archer.

Ravena spearheaded for ADMU with a double-double performance of 14 points and 10 boards. Koume also hugged a double-double with 11 and 10.

La Salle only shot 47.37 percent, their second-lowest output, from the stripe. The league-leading rebounding team was also outrebounded 54-35 by their arch-rivals.

Support the Green Archers as they face the UP Fighting Maroons to try and seal the third spot on Wednesday, 4pm at the MOA Arena.

 

La Salle Big Men anchor Green Archers in crucial win over Tamaraws

(FILE PHOTO)

Big men Brandon Bates and Justin Baltazar made their presence felt in a huge 65-57 win for the De La Salle University Green Archers over the Tamaraws in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, Saturday.

Bates was hailed as the best player of the game after tallying seven points, 10 rebounds and two blocks. Numbers might not be that explosive for the 6’7 slot man, but the timing of his swats and offensive boards proved to be a vital cog for the Taft squad. The other half of the DLSU twin towers, Baltazar, tallied 15 points and six rebounds, while Santi Santillan added 12 and 14.

Arvin Tolentino, who came back from serving suspension, paced FEU with 20 points, four rebounds and two assists. He was the lone Tamaraw who barged into double digits in scoring with Parker and Stockton posting six markers apiece.

It looked like another slow start for the Green Archers in the first period. La Salle opened the quarter up 4-0, but the Tamaraws countered with an 8 to nothing blast. Both teams were sloppy,  shooting poorly from the field. Kib Montalbo then checked in and set the tone for La Salle immediately. The graduating senior took every opportunity to run and make plays for his teammates. The green side was more fluid, being anchored by their team captain as they regained the lead at the end of the first, 14-13.

In the second frame, neither of the squads went away with a comfortable lead. Baltazar and Tolentino stole the show as they scored 12 and 10 points respectively in the first half. The Tams built a 4-point cushion after Tolentino sank a triple with 2:28 left, but the Archers answered every attack thrown at them to tie the game, 34-all, at halftime.

The Morayta-based crew turned its defense a notch higher and began the third canto with an 11-1 run, five coming from Tolentino, to establish a 45-35 lead with 4:08 left in the quarter. The boys in green got their act together as they retaliated with a 13-2 rally to take the driver’s seat once again courtesy of the Bates, Baltazar and Santillan. Montalbo capped of the fightback with a hard drive to the basket to end the third, 48-47.

With momentum already on DLSU’s side, Coach Louie and his Archers never let go of their advantage and kept the Tamaraws at bay. Leading by six, 59-53, with 2:44 to play, La Salle wanted to deliver the final blow. Cue, Aljun Melecio! He did not care about his cold-shooting night. The shifty guard received a pass from Santillan and quickly went for a pull-up triple. That was the dagger as the Green and White eventually came away with the victory.

(FILE PHOTO)

DLSU improved to 6-4 and is currently in solo third place. FEU, on the other hand, suffered its fourth consecutive defeat, dropping down to the fifth spot with a 5-6 card.

The next game for the Green Archers is on November 3, Saturday, 2pm at Ynares Antipolo.

DLSU 65 – Baltazar 15, Santillan 12, Bates 7, Montalbo 7, Caracut 7, Melecio 7, Serrano 5, Dyke 5.

FEU 57 – Tolentino 20, Parker 6, Stockton 6, Inigo 5, Ramirez 5, Escoto 5, Cani 4, Ebona 3, Comboy 3.

Quarter scores: 14-13, 34-34, 48-47, 65-57

 

 

 

 

 

Lady Archers succumb to Lady Bulldogs, suffer second straight loss

(FILE PHOTO)

The De La Salle University fell prey anew to National University as the Lady Archers bowed to the Lady Bulldogs, 64-111, in the UAAP Season 81 women’s basketball tournament at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, Saturday.

La Salle suffered its second consecutive defeat after losing to the UE Lady Warriors the last outing.

National U imposed its will early and jumped to a 20-0 blitz in the opening quarter with 4:45 to go. Their aggressiveness on both ends of the floor was too much for the green side as they held a 32-7 advantage after the first.

DLSU tried to contain NU as much as they could but a 21-13 second period for the latter added salt to former’s wound, with the Lady Bulldogs stretching the lead to 33 at halftime.

The Jhocson-based squad went on a scoring barrage in the third canto. Rhena Itesi connected with a jumper to give National U its biggest lead of the game, 81-28, with 2:04 remaining.

The Lady Archers fought back until the very end, but the Lady Bulldogs were just a cut above the rest as they pummeled La Salle from start to finish.

Kath Nunez and Ana Castillo spearheaded for DLSU with 13 points apiece, while Camille Claro added 12 points, all from beyond the arc.

On the other hand, Ria Nabalan exploded for 40 points on 61% shooting. She also tallied six rebounds and eight assists. National team player Jack Animam also posted monster numbers with 20 points, 17 rebounds and four blocks, while Itesi chipped in 19 points and 16 boards.

NU also continues to make a mark, extending its win streak to 72 games.

The Lady Archers dropped to a 5-4 record and they will try to bounce back from this defeat as they face the FEU Lady Tamaraws in round 2 on October 27, Saturday, 9am at the FilOil Flying V Arena.

DLSU 64 – Castllo, A. 13, Nunez 13, Claro 12, Castillo, R. 8, Torres 5, Espinas 4, Del Campo 3, Jajurie 2, Paraiso 2, Arciga 1, Revillosa 1.

NU 111 – Nabalan 40, Animam 20, Itesi 19, Pingol 9, Fabruada 6, Canuto 5, Del Carmen 5, Camelo 3, Cac 2, Ceno 2.

Quarter scores: 7-32, 20-53, 31-81, 64-111.

Notable statistics:

Rebounds: DLSU 30-58 NU

Assists: DLSU 16-32 NU

Blocks: DLSU 1-10 NU

FG: DLSU 29%-69% NU

Free throws: DLSU 9/15 (60%) – 20/33 (60%) NU

Points in the paint: DLSU 18-58 NU

Bench points: DLSU 38 – 18 NU

 

 

 

 

Serrano, Green Archers cruise past Red Warriors to grab share of 3rd spot

(FILE PHOTO)

The De La Salle University (DLSU) Green Archers started the second round with a dominating 79-59 victory over the University of the East (UE) Red Warriors in the UAAP Season 81 men’s basketball tournament at the Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City. Wednesday.

La Salle improved to 5-3 and is now tied for third place with the Far Eastern University Tamaraws.

Encho Serrano recorded his career-high in scoring with 18 points together six rebounds, two assists and two steals. Andrei Caracut added 16 points, six boards and two dimes, while Santi Santillan and Justine Baltazar chipped in 13 and 12 markers, respectively, including seven rebounds apiece.

DLSU also matched their season-highs in bench points and steals with 40 and nine respectively.

The Green Archers began the game hot as they built a 10-point edge in the opening quarter, but a late 5-1 run from the Red Warriors kept the latter within striking distance, 21-16, after the first.

The Taft squad caught fire in the second frame as they unleashed a 16-2 blast to balloon their lead to 16, 44-28. UE, though, rallied back to trim its deficit down to 11 at halftime.

Coach Joe Silva and his crew waxed hot to begin the third period with his team chopping La Salle’s advantage down to three, but the Green and White showed resilience and took advantage when Alvin Pasaol was on the bench. They turned to their defense and smooth-sailing offense to stretch the lead back to 17, 66-49.

It was all DLSU in the final quarter as UE could not get anything going. The Archers’ bench, then, took care of business on their way to the win.

Pasaol once again had himself a show againts La Salle, tallying 22 points and 17 rebounds, while Cristopher Conner posted 12 and seven.

DLSU 79 – Serrano 18, Caracut 16, Santillan 13, Baltazar 12, Melecio 8, Manuel 3, Montalbo 3, Bates 2, Corteza 2, Dyke 2, Capacio 0, Go 0.

UE 59 – Pasaol 22, Conner 12, Varilla 7, Bartolome 6, Antiporda 3, Cullar 3, Acuno 2, Manalang 2, Sobrevega 2.

Quarter scores: 21-16, 47-36, 66-49, 79-59.