De La Salle University ruined University of the Philippines’ bid to enter the Final Four after pulling off an 88-79 win in the University Athletic Association of the Philippines Season 86 men’s basketball tournament Sunday night at the packed Mall of Asia Arena.
Most Valuable Player frontrunner Kevin Quiambao starred in the Green Archers’ closing run, scoring 11 of the team’s last 14 points to turn back their first-round tormentor for a fourth straight win and a 7-3 win-loss record.
“Again, we know coming to this game that UP’s gonna be the barometer of this season, so we just try to remind everybody that this is a test of how far we have come as a team,” La Salle coach Topex Robinson said.
“We had a chance the last time we played them in the first round. Things didn’t go our way. We just came here, tried to be the better version of ourselves,” he said.
“UP we know is a good team. The challenge is for the players to step up. Together, we can do great things. This night, again, these guys are competitors.”
Quiambao, who had a bloodied left temple after getting hit by Luis Pablo midway through the second quarter, finished with a double-double this time with 22 points and 12 rebounds he laced with three steals and two assists for La Salle.
Evan Nelle added 17 points, Mike Phillips chipped in 15 points and 12 rebounds while Jonnel Policarpio and Francis Escandor added 11 points each for the Green Archers.
UP, which played sans reigning MVP Malick Diouf due to a sprained right wrist and JD Cagulangan (hamstring injury), uncorked a 16-8 spurt in the fourth quarter to take a 75-74 lead following a CJ Cansino jumper with 4:45 left after playing catch up most of the game.
Then Quiambao took over for the Green Archers’ finishing kick.
UP absorbed its second defeat in 10 games but remained on top of the standings tied with idle National University.
The Green Archers took advantage of the Fighting Maroons’ tentative offense in the first half to head into halftime with a 51-39 lead.
La Salle relied on its hot outside shooting in the first half to create the separation, hitting 8-of-15 treys, and got 29 points from its bench.
The Green Archers’ choking defense also forced the Fighting Maroons to commit 11 turnovers which La Salle converted to 16 points.
Cansino had 20 points, Janjan Felicilda came a rebound short of a double-double with 13 points and nine boards while Harold Alarcon got 10 for UP.
DLSU (88) — Quiambao 22, Nelle 17, M. Phillips 15, Policarpio 11, Escandor 11, Nonoy 3, Abadam 3, Cortez 2, Austria 2, Manuel 2, B. Phillips 0, David 0, Macalalag 0, Nwankwo 0.
UP (79) — Cansino 20, Felicilda 13, Alarcon 10, Abadiano 9, Pablo 6, Briones 5, Torculas 4, Lopez 4, Alter 2, Belomonte 2, Torres 2, Fortea 2, Gagate 0.
Quarters: 22-14, 51-39, 66-59, 88-79