ANTIPOLO CITY – La Salle reasserted its dominance over University of Santo Tomas, 110-69, to solidify its hold of third place in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament yesterday at the Ynares Center here.
Not satisfied with a 50-31 halftime lead, the Green Archers put the Growling Tigers on the pits with a telling 20-0 run to open the second half to put the game beyond recall and score a repeat of their masterful 99-72 first round conquest.
“I like how we started it, the energy is really high,” said La Salle mentor Louie Gonzalez. UST Coach Aldin Ayo is now 0-2 against the Archers, a team that he steered to a 2016 championship, this season.
Improving its record to 7-4, La Salle is now two games ahead of UST and idle Far Eastern University (5-6) in the race for the last Final Four berth.
Later, Paul Desiderio hit a key lay-up in the final 37.4 seconds as University of the Philippines seized solo fourth while putting National University on the brink of elimination with a victory.
The Fighting Maroons rose to 6-6, gaining a half-a-game cushion in the chase for the No. 4 spot, boosting their chances of ending a more than two decades of Final Four drought.
The Archers, who scored the most points this season, fired 15 triples and with their relentless pressure defense, especially in the first half, forced the Tigers to turn the ball over 23 times.
Aljun Melecio scattered 18 of his 22 points from beyond the arc to go with six assists and five rebounds while Mark Dyke, with the trust given to him by Gonzalez, played his best game this season with 16 points and six rebounds.
In the women’s division, Nathalie Prado had 20 points, 12 rebounds, five assists and four steals as Adamson gave an advance birthday to coach Ewon Arayi with a 76-72 win over UST and moved to solo third with a 7-4 card, while Khate Castillo shot 16 points as La Salle gained a piece of fourth place at 6-5 following a 68-56 romp of UP.
DLSU (110) – Melecio 22, Dyke 16, Caracut 15, Go 14, Baltazar 13, Serrano 13, Santillan 6, Montalbo 4, Manuel 3, Bates 2, Capacio 2, Corteza 0.
UST (69) – Lee 26, Cansino 14, Mahinay 5, Marcos 5, Cosejo 5, Zamora 4, Bataller 3, Huang 3, Agustin 2, Bonleon 2, Subido 0, Caunan 0.
Quarterscores: 29-13, 50-31, 84-40, 110-69
UP (82) – Akhuetie 21, Desiderio 12, Ju. Gomez de Liaño 10, Vito 10, Manzo 8, Murrell 8, Prado 6, Gozum 4, Ja. Gomez de Liaño 2, Diego 1, Tungcab 0, Jaboneta 0, Spencer 0, Lim 0.
NU (71) – D. Ildefonso 24, Sinclair 13, Gallego 9, Rike 7, S. Ildefonso 6, Salim 6, Clemente 5, Gaye 1, Diputado 0, Yu 0, Tibayan 0, Galinato 0.
Quarterscores: 17-15, 40-30, 60-49, 82-71