DLSU Green Archers def. UST Growling Tigers
Aljun Melecio (22 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, 6/10 3FG)
The former De La Salle Santiago Zobel standout tied his season-high in the scoring department with an impressive shooting performance against the Growling Tigers as he led the Green Archers to their seventh win in 11 games. Despite knocking down half of his shots (finished the game with 7/14 FG shooting), Melecio still made an effort to get his teammates going on the offensive end. He had six dimes and produced a highlight play with a behind-the-back pass to Justine Baltazar for a fast break dunk in the third quarter.
Mark Dyke (16 points, 6 rebounds, 2/2 3FG)
The undersized power forward was back the starting line-up and did not disappoint. Dyke responded to his six-minute outing against the FEU Tamaraws with relentless energy on both ends of the floor, which included two three-point conversions. Known for his brute strength inside the paint, the former NU Bullpup showcased a different facet of his game as he fearlessly launched two shots beyond the arc in the second half. The surprise offensive production of Dyke will be a welcome sight for DLSU head coach Louie Gonzales as they strengthen their hold on the third seed.
Jollo Go (14 points, 3/4 3FG)
Two quick fouls by rookie Encho Serrano gave the sweet-shooting lefty the opportunity to enter the game early as he came in and substituted the reserve guard. Go made an immediate impact as he fished for an offensive foul while playing good pressure defence then got his first points of the game as he drilled a three-pointer at the 4:54 mark of the second period to extend La Salle’s lead to 19 points, 44-25. The former Batang Gilas guard continued his fine form in the third canto as he hit two more three-pointers and scored a two-point jumper to help put the game away.
Marvin Lee (26 points, 4 turnovers, 7/18 FG)
Only two players reached double digits in scoring for the Growling Tigers but it was Lee who tallied the most points. The spitfire guard played 29.83 minutes but struggled in the first three quarters as he only exploded in the final period with the outcome already decided. He recorded 15 points but his scoring exploits were not enough to prevent UST’s sixth loss in 11 games.
- La Salle started the game strong with an 8-0 run but CJ Cansino and Lee answered back with six quick points. The Green-and-White then responded by scoring 21 points to end the first quarter with a 29-13 lead.
- The third period was the turning point as the Green Archers took their defense to another level as they limited the Growling Tigers to only nine points, while scoring 34 points themselves. The Green-and-White displayed shades of the “Mayhem System” to former DLSU head coach Aldin Ayo and reminded him of the success that he left in Taft. UST found it difficult to unlock the full-court press of La Salle and struggled to take care of the ball after committing 23 turnovers.
- UST only shot 33.33% from the field and Cansino was only limited to seven attempts. After claiming his first ever triple-double in the seniors level, the rookie was closely guarded by the Lasallians and made an extra effort in denying him the ball. Despite the low field goal attempts, he did score 14 points while grabbing nine rebounds and dishing out three assists.
- If you subtract the scoring output of Lee and Cansino (both players started the game) from the final score of UST, the difference would be 29. The other three starters only mustered up seven points while the reserves produced 22 points. The return of Renzo Subido will certainly help, but he just came back from an ankle injury and might need a little more time to adjust (18.50 minutes off the bench, zero points on six attempts). And with three elimination round games left to play, Ayo will need more from his other players as they continue to fight for a Final Four spot.
- Side note: It was the first time the UAAP held a seniors basketball game in Ynares Center and the Green Archers made sure that it was a memorable one for them. Coming into the game, they held a 34.4 average winning margin against UST, which started back in the first round of Season 79 (that’s five straight wins for La Salle, including a 99-72 victory in the first round this year). Their latest blowout win against the Growling Tigers almost set a new league record as the 41-point domination came in as the second highest winning margin in the UAAP since 2003.
- To add: Ayo, UST’s new head coach, is still winless against his former team after absorbing his worst loss of his UAAP coaching career. A 32-point drubbing was his previous worst and it came against La Salle’s archrivals, the ADMU Blue Eagles. But on the brighter side, the former Letran Knights mentor should still be respected and applauded as he has done an extraordinary job in lifting the Growling Tigers after spending a few years in the cellar.