GREAT TAFT ESCAPE
The DLSU Green Archers rallied back from a nine-point fourth-quarter lead and once more escaped with a 77-72 win over the team who just won a single game the entire season, the UST Tigers.
The Green Archers’ timely buckets and the Tigers’ inability to execute ignited the last-quarter comeback for La Salle. Evan Nelle, playing his best Season 85 game so far, converted on a three-point play to slash the once imposing nine-point lead to one, 68-69 with 3:18 to go.
While Nelle waxed hot all throughout the game, the rest of the scrappy Archers did their part defensively and forced UST to turn the ball over one possession at a time.
With the count squared at 69-all, the rookie from La Salle Greenhills, JC Macalalag canned the go-ahead jumper with 1:50 to go off an assist from Ben Phillips. And as the ball was in midflight, Phillips was fouled and dragged down on the rebound play giving the Archers two more shots at the line.
While Kuya Ben Phillips cooly swished the two freebies to push La Salle to a four-point lead at 73-69, the bad news Tigers showed up and started to brick open triple tries and turned the ball over twice. Nelle sealed the game with two shots from the line with 9 ticks to go.
It was not an easy win for DLSU as they played with a depleted frontline minus Mike Phillips and Kevin Quiambao while showing up with a still-hobbled Schonny Winston. But as the offense was nowhere, La Salle defense showed up in the final quarter.
La Salle forced an eight-minute UST scoring outage as the Tigers went for zero field goals when the Green Archers started to overhaul the deficit. After a scorching three quarters, the tight La Salle defense suffocated the failing UST’s offensive options and finished the game with only a 36.5% FG clip.
Nelle finished the game with a season-high 25 points, 4 assists and 4 boards.
The Green Archers nation will now watch the Ateneo-Adamson game to see if there is still a tomorrow for Season 85 La Salle basketball.