Published on October 27th, 2018 | by Khyte Mendoza0
La Salle Big Men anchor Green Archers in crucial win over Tamaraws
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.
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