Rhyle Melencio waxed hot as De La Salle-Zobel stretched its winning streak to three following an 81-67 victory over University of the Philippines Integrated School in Season 85 University Athletic Association of the Philippines junior boys’ basketball tournament on Wednesday at the Filoil EcoOil Centre.
Melencio fired 18 points and 20 rebounds to help the Junior Archers complete their head-to-head sweep of the Junior Maroons to improve to 4-4, a mark that is still well within the Final Four range.
De La Salle-Zobel had a balanced offense, as Kieffer Alas and Justin San Agustin each scored 15 points, while Junjun Melecio and Charles Dimaano had 13 and 11 points, respectively.
“Like what I said before, if you want to get to the Final Four, you have to beat these teams because our next game will be against FEU (Far Eastern University),” Junior Archers coach Boris Aldeguer said.
“Had we lost this game, it would be a harder drive for us to get into the Final Four. This is an important win. A good win for us coming to our next game.”
Extending his season-best double-doubles to eight, Melencio is happy that the Junior Archers are getting better at this important stretch of the season.
“I feel that we’re learning and getting stronger every game,” Melencio said.
“We have already forgotten Round 1. We’re back to zero in Round 2.”
In the second game, Kristian Porter had 18 points and 17 rebounds while LeBron Nieto chipped in 17 points, seven boards, six assists, and four steals as Ateneo High School avenged its first-round loss to University of the East with an 88-77 victory.
The Blue Eagles, who dropped a 79-84 decision to the Junior Warriors in the first round, rose to 3-5, just a game behind the Junior Archers.
Ateneo coach Reggie Varilla was happy with the way his troops, particularly the bigs led by Porter, delivered in the fourth period after battling tooth and nail with UE in the first 30 minutes.
“Good thing, the boys responded. We were able to get some stops and convert it,” Varilla said.
The Blue Eagles went back to basics to arrest the skid.
“We went back to our roots so we could focus on what we needed to do. We played our hardest” said Porter, who also had three assists and two blocks.
Jonas Napalang had 22 points, eight boards, and six assists while Kobe Demisana chipped in 17 points, 11 rebounds, five blocks and four assists for UPIS, who remained tied with UE at 1-7.
Andrei de Leon paced the Junior Warriors with 23 points, seven assists, and three steals while Vhon Roldan contributed 20 points and nine boards.