De La Salle Green Archers def. UST Growling Tigers 80-79
Jamie Malonzo, DLSU (23 points, seven rebounds, three steals)
UST was the perfect kind of opponent for Jamie Malonzo to break out again and he pulled through. This was Jamie Malonzo at his very best; an off-ball wing who maximizes his athleticism and length to create terror in open spaces. Don’t force him to create off the dribble. Put him around screens and allow him to rebound for put-backs and he will produce.
Brandon Bates, DLSU (10 points, 15 rebounds, two blocks)
Bates has one elite quality: his size. Other than being quite tall, his girth is what makes him stand out. He put it into good use today, as during the second half, he bullied Chabi Yo and made life hard for the MVP candidate. He absolutely deserves Player of the Game. When he knows how to properly use his size, La Salle is difficult to beat.
Rhenz Abando, UST (19 points, 4/8 3FG)
Abando nearly had his TMac moment. If only his shoes were a size smaller maybe he would have had his moment. Instead, we’re left talking about what could have been rather than what really happened. Either way, despite a shaky start, Abando simply found a way to come up big in the clutch. Salute.
- The stats don’t do this game justice. If anything, they actually tell the story of how UST controlled the game during the first half. The Growling Tigers dominated the Green Archers on rebounding as UST grabbed 61 versus La Salle’s 51. By getting those boards, UST had the chance to feast by making unpredictable plays and as a result, surprising the La Salle defense.
- La Salle’s adjustment didn’t come from magically getting boards. Instead, it came from a more conscious effort of pounding the ball in the paint. By the end of the game, they had 42 inside points versus UST’s 26. That’s a testament of their commitment to attacking the paint and defending the rim. They were so locked in that even Soulemane Chabi Yo had difficulty scoring against Brandon Bates during the second half. You don’t see Bates shutting down a player like Chabi Yo often.
- This game was a perfect representation of UST’s limitations. They may have a bunch of shooters, but they lack a solid inside presence on the offensive end to match the giants of other teams. As good as Chabi Yo is, he isn’t dominant. Teams normally counter their lack of size by having a reliable slasher to the rim. UST doesn’t have that either, as CJ Cansino’s attacking game isn’t at the level it was in yet last year. UST is surely good, but that’s one hole teams have definitely tried to expose this second round.
- La Salle continues to be one of the most confusing teams in the league. Despite this confusion, one thing is clear; they need Brandon Bates to be playing well to have a shot at making it to the Finals. Their guards will always find ways to score while Justine Baltazar remains the most skilled big in the league. But they need Bates to always lock in on both ends of the floor. If he’s able to do that on Sunday, maybe La Salle is able to avenge their heartbreaking loss during the first round.