La Salle bounced back with a vengeance from a disappointing loss to UP on opening day to thrash UST yesterday at the Philsports Arena. The Archers uncorked a furious 31-11 blitz across the second and third quarters to deliver that blowout of the UST Growling Tigers.
The Green Archers marched into the fray with one major agenda, limit UST’s Nic Cabanero, the Tiger who growled and gnawed the Adamson Falcons into smithereens on opening day with 33 points.
Following the gameplan to the letter, the green defensive line did just that. Deny Cabanero the ball and clog all driving lanes. Be ready to double when he gets the ball. It worked. With the UST offensive flow disrupted, the Green Archers raced to double-digit leads as early as the first five minutes to end the opening quarter 30-21.
The 30 first quarter points came off superb drive and dish plays after dicing the frail UST perimeter defense that resulted in uncontested point-blank baskets by Mike and Ben Phillips and Bright Nwankwo. Super rookie, Kevin Quiambao signaled his entry with a triple and a couple of baskets to reinforce the La Salle first quarter attack.
The Tigers would not roll over easily, and opted to shift to a run and gun tactic in the second to chop the lead and even grab a one-point lead at 32-33 at the middle of the quarter. That was the best view of any kind of a lead this Espana squad would have all afternoon.
The Green Archers reacted immediately and went back to their effective offensive ways. A Mike Phillips hook shot, a wide-open two from Raven Cortez and a lob to Schonny Winston capped an 8-2 La Salle run and created some separation at 40-35. A personal Winston five point special then pushed the lead to 47-38 before ending the half at 47-40.
The halftime break did not cool off the Green Archers run. Winston and Mark Nonoy ignited another 9-0 bomb to stretch the lead to 56-40 with 7 minutes left in the third. Motor Mike and big brother Ben Phillips collaborated with Quiambao to make it a 19-point game at 63-44 halfway through the third canto.
And at this point, it was all downhill as Coach Derrick emptied his bench to give the untested Green Archers some useful UAAP experience
Winston topped the green team with 19 points, 5 boards and 3 assists with a massive +26, while CJ Austria closed out the game with 13 markers. The green defense limited UST bucket-getter Nic Cabanero to only 11 points and a -32, a different galaxy from his opening day 33 points.
Aside from the excellent defensive execution, the Taft squad shot better from the field, finishing the game with 47.1% from the field and 38.1% from beyond the arc. Ball movement was spectacular leading to the season record for total team assists with 25.
La Salle will face bitter rival Ateneo on Sunday hoping to finally end a long losing streak.
ANIMO LA SALLE!!!
(PHOTOS C/O UAAP MEDIA BUREAU)