After seven long years, the Green Archers have finally claimed their crown. The relentless pursuit to end the title drought has culminated in DLSU reclaiming their throne as the UAAP basketball champions.
True to their season’s narrative, La Salle found themselves in precarious territory deep into the final quarter, trailing by six at 63-67 with just 5:20 remaining. Yet, in the defining moments, it was the brightest stars who illuminated the stage.
In a display of unwavering resilience, both Season 86 and Finals MVP Kevin Quiambao and Evan Nelle rose to the occasion. Nelle’s deep three, coupled with KQ’s trademark teardrop shot, ignited a blistering 7-0 surge, propelling La Salle to a 70-67 lead with 3:35 left.
The ensuing minutes saw both teams exchange missed opportunities until Janjan Felicilda received a forward outlet pass, seemingly poised for a crucial basket with 30 seconds on the clock. But Quiambao, driven by determination, thwarted UP’s fastbreak with a precisely timed tap that disrupted Felicilda’s play.
Despite a three-point lead and mere seconds remaining, UP wasn’t to be counted out. CJ Cansino’s steal led to a frantic fastbreak, eventually finding Harold Alarcon, attempting his version of Ray Allen’s game-tying three-pointer. However, Alarcon’s turnaround attempt hit the back rim, returning possession to La Salle with seven seconds left.
KQ, fouled on the subsequent play, split his free throws, securing a two-possession gap at 71-67. Although Quiambao’s split, UP ran out of time, sparking jubilant on-court celebrations.
The Green Archers’ bench stormed the floor, joined by an ecstatic gallery clad in green and white. The collective release of season-long pressure echoed throughout the Green Archers kingdom.
From a challenging 3-3 start and halftime deficit against UE in the first round, this Season 86 team epitomized trust in one another, in the system, and in their coach. Their commitment to a philosophy emphasizing team play was evident.
Amidst a nine-game winning streak cut short by a 30-point Game One setback, the resilience displayed was remarkable. Even in the final game, La Salle dug deep, surmounted challenges, and emerged victorious against a formidable adversary built to dominate.
ANIMO LA SALLE!
UAAP SEASON 86 MEN’S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONS!!!