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Clutch Austria snaps La Salle four-game skid


Games Sunday:

(MOA Arena)

11:00 a.m. — Ateneo vs FEU

1:00 p.m. — NU vs UST

3:00 p.m. — Adamson vs UE

6:30 p.m. — UP vs La Salle


CJ Austria stepped up big time with the game on the line, hitting the game-winning triple at the buzzer to pull De La Salle University out of a four-game losing skid with an 81-78 win over Adamson University in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 85 men’s basketball tournament on Thursday at the Smart Araneta Coliseum.

Ben Phillips, who had the hot hand after drilling three treys in the tightly-contested fourth quarter, found the sophomore in the left elbow for the long-range shot that handed the Green Archers their fourth win in 10 games tied with their victims.

“I’m really happy because we really needed this win. Manong (coach Derrick Pumaren) told us we’re down but not yet out,” Austria said after making the shot despite having Falcons center Lenda Douanga outstretched arms all over his face.

Austria covered on offense with top Most Valuable Player contender Schonny Winston still missing in action due to a calf injury, scoring 16 points on 6-of-13 shooting from the field.

The Laguna native also had two rebounds and two steals in La Salle’s sweet revenge over its first round tormentor.

The victory also put the Green Archers back on the right track to vie for the last three Final Four seats still up for grabs after defending champion University of the Philippines booked the first ticket.

“We talked about it that this is the most important game for us. We need to really bounce back. As  I’ve said we needed them, we needed everything in today’s ball game for us to win,” Pumaren said.

A basket from Earl Abadam followed by a triple by Phillips put La Salle on top, 75-74, after trailing by four with 2:47 left. Jed Colonia put Adamson back in front, 76-74, after a quick drive to the basket.

Austria split his free throws in the next play before Didat Hanapi made a basket that gave the Falcons a 78-76 lead with 1:05 left.

Mike Phillips tied the ball game with a crucial putback off his brother Ben’s missed trey with 41.5 ticks left followed by a huge defensive stop that paved the way for Austria’s heroics.

Ben Phillips finished with 14 points pinned on 5-of-8 clip from the field including 3-of-6 three-point shooting and grabbed nine boards for La Salle. Mike Phillips posted a double-double of 14 markers and 10 rebounds with three steals, a block, and an assist.

The Falcons played sans Jerom Lastimosa, who was in uniform but remained on the bench resting a foot injury.

Joshua Yerro led Adamson with 18 points, Aaron Flowers bloomed with 15 markers and five rebounds while Douanga, Hanapi, and Joaquin Jaymalin scored 10 each.


The Scores:

LA SALLE (81) — Austria 16, M. Phillips 14, B. Phillips 14, Nonoy 8, Quiambao 8, Abadam 6, Nwankwo 6, Nelle 5, Estacio 4, Macalalag 0, Cortez 0, Manuel 0.

ADAMSON (78) — Yerro 18, Flowers 15, Hanapi 10, Jaymalin 10, Douanga 10, Manzano 6, Sabandal 3, Colonia 2, Barasi 2, Fuentebella 2, Torres 0, Barcelona 0, W. Magbuhos 0.

Quarters: 23-23, 40-42, 57-62, 81-78.

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