UP showed clear dominance against the DLSU Archers.
The UP Fighting Maroons clinched the first win of the UAAP Season 86 Finals against the DLSU Green Archers in a commanding 30-point lead victory, 97-67, ending the Archers’ nine-game win streak at the SM Mall of Asia Arena, Wednesday evening.
Rookie sensation, Francis Lopez, put up a highlight reel in the third quarter, putting up 9 of his 15 points in the third frame with 11 rebounds to record a double-double, while Harold Alarcon netted 8 of his 21-point performance in the third.
JD Cagulangan showed early offensive aggression by reflecting 11 points in the scoreboard of the first half. UP gained momentum in the third frame, leading a 24-14 run against the offensively cold Archers in the third quarter.
La Salle tried to fend off the UP offense by pulling a 7-2 run in the early minutes of the last frame, led by EJ Gollena and Mike Philips. UP’s rookie Luis Pablo stepped up in a Malick Diouf-less quarter by pouring 4 points in the final minutes of the game.
The Maroons bested La Salle on its offensive assault, by draining 41 percent field goal and maintaining a 20 point difference all the way through the second half of the ball game. La Salle failed to secure rebounds and offense which helped UP to stretch the lead to 30.
Archers had a rough night by piling up turnovers. The Maroons took advantage by 24 points off the turnovers. UP took advantage of the 55 boards and 12 steals against La Salle. UAAP Season 86 MVP Kevin Quiambao of DLSU was contained by Maroon defense to his season low performance of 11 points.
DLSU head coach Topex Robinson tried to step up La Salle’s bench players but UP drew dominance until the last second of the ball game.
“Obviously UP just showed us why they’re the number one team in the UAAP right now. At this point, we really can’t look for other excuses but to bounce back,” Robinson said.
The Maroons are one game away from attaining the UAAP Season 86 championship to edge the Archers on the best-of-three finals match-up. The last championship of UP was in UAAP Season 84 after JD Cagulangan scored a buzzer beater shot to win over the Ateneo Blue Eagles.
“We just have to sustain and know that the Finals will not be won with one game but it’s a series. Dapat we have to know what to work on and be ready for the next game,” said Head Coach Gold Monteverde of the UP Men’s Basketball team.
The next finals game will be on Sunday, 4PM at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. ●
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