by Neal Tieng
TORCHED, SCORCHED AND BURNED.
Schonny Winston sizzled right from tip-off and led a 112-83 beat down of the UST Tigers yesterday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Winston answered the opening buzzer with a pull-up jumper, and showed that he entered this game with beast mode turned on. With the score at 6-2, Winston drained two straight triples, then collaborated with Justin Baltazar to tear the game wide open at 29-8, just eight minutes into the game.
Unlike in the first round UST match-up, La Salle denied the Tigers their usual drive-and-dish game, where the Espana shooters were able to drain several triples to come back from sizeable deficits. This time, the smarter La Salle defense switched effectively to bar access to the shaded lane while covering their options from deep to lock down the UST offensive options.
This adjustment threw off the Tigers’ game plan and forced UST to seven turnovers in just the first quarter. The Green Archers on the other hand seemed to have capitalized on the Lenten break to calibrate their shooting aim and normed almost 80% from the field in the first 10 minutes to lead 36-21 after the first quarter and never looked back.
Although there were mini Espana rallies that slashed the lead to 10, their Taft counterparts would go on a run to keep safe distance.
At the end of the third, the men in green had placed the game out of reach at 86-61, and entered the fourth canto building a 32-point lead.
Five Archers finished in double figures led by Winston’s 33 points. Baltazar added 17, Evan Nelle tallied 16, Michael Phillips with 15 and Kurt Lojera finished with 10 markers.
The victory pushed the Green Archers back on the winning track and now at solo third with a 6-3 record. La Salle is two games ahead of fourth running NU Bulldogs who currently has a 4-5 card. This shows that the Archers are making a serious push for a Final Four slot.
La Salle will face UE on Thursday at 7pm at the Mall of Asia Arena.