By Gio Gloria
DLSU Green Archers def. Adamson Soaring Falcons, 68-61
Justine Baltazar (Game-high 21 points, 14 rebounds, and two blocks)
With Lenda Douanga out for most of the first half due to early foul trouble, Baltazar proceeded to make mince meat out of the Adamson defense on a bevy of layups and hook shots in the paint. Prior to and even for a few moments in this game, the former NU Bullpup had the tendency of settling for jumpers but with more space inside, Baltazar took advantage. This performance definitely made up for his six-point dud against the FEU Tamaraws.
Andrei Caracut (15 points, 5/11 FGs)
After taking on a more subdued role in the past four games, Caracut took charge and scored the Green Archers’ first and last baskets against the Soaring Falcons. His two crunchtime 3-pointers in the final minute of the fourth quarter doused any chance of an Adamson comeback and offset the struggles of Aljun Melecio, who despite making the go-ahead basket for La Salle missed six of his seven shot attempts in the game.
Jerrick Ahanmisi (13 points on three 3-pointers)
Ahanmisi took on a more passive approach in the first half, feeding teammates and trying to establish the team’s offensive sets especially with Val Chauca in foul trouble. In the second half, Ahanmisi proceeded to look for his shot more, making huge 3-pointers over Jamie Malonzo and nearly orchestrating another Adamson comeback.
Val Chauca (13 points, five rebounds, and four assists)
Bothered by early foul trouble, Chauca could not find his rhythm offensively. Although he was able to score in the second half and dish out assists to his teammates, he was constantly swarmed by various La Salle defenders, who understood that giving the Fil-Peruvian guard space would definitely be bad news for them.
- The Green Archers’ second quarter performances this season usually indicate how they will fare for the rest of the game. Their 26-12 second quarter against the Soaring Falcons proved to be the difference, as they made the most out of the absence of Douanga and Chauca, who were saddled with two fouls each. With them out, Adamson’s paint protection was minimal at best, while Chauca struggled to find the touch he had in the last five games.
- What also helped La Salle overcome their recent second quarter struggles was their 3-point shooting. They made 38.1 percent of their 3-point shots while also limiting the Soaring Falcons to 25.93 percent shooting from behind the 3-point line.
- DLSU’s pressure defense was also much better in this game as they forced Adamson into contested shots late in the shot clock. The Green Archers also rebounded with much more tenacity, grabbing 54 boards to the Soaring Falcons’ 42, with Baltazar, Malonzo, and Brandon Bates each having at least 10 rebounds.
- Struggles with free throws are usually associated with La Salle, but this time it was Adamson that struggled from there as they missed 12 of their 20 free throw attempts, with Douanga missing nine of his 14 attempts at the free throw line.
- Both teams made slight tweaks to their starting lineups, however it was DLSU’s move to start Joaqui Manuel over Bates that proved to be more effective. The Soaring Falcons started rookie Aaron Fermin over Pong Zaldivar, but he only played eight minutes and scored two points. Manuel on the other hand, played nearly 22 minutes, knocked down two 3-pointers in the pivotal second quarter, and made key defensive stops that prevented Adamson from pulling away.