MANILA, Philippines – Kevin Quiambao took matters into his own hands, scoring 13 of his 18 points in the payoff period to lift La Salle past University of the Philippines, 82-80, and boost their hopes for a Final Four in the UAAP Season 85 men’s basketball. Sunday at the Mall of Asia Arena.
Quiambao, who had two points in the first half, refused to have another bad game like their first game last October, taking control in the fourth quarter and showing nerves of steel as he sank two crucial free throws that completed the Green Archers’ comeback. from a 12-point deficit, 49-37, early in the third quarter.
The big freshman started a 13-5 run to end the third quarter that cut the deficit to four, 63-59, before La Salle unleashed an 8-1 burst to take a 69-66 lead with 5:40 left. James Spencer stopped the bleeding for UP to tie the game, but Evan Nelle blocked his layup attempt on the next play.
The Green Shooters forced four straight layups from the Fighting Maroons as a Quiambao jumper and Mark Nonoy’s free throws built a 10-point lead, 79-69, with 1:14 left.
However, JD Cagulangan had all the points in UP’s 6-1 run to cut the lead to two, 80-78, with 12.5 seconds left before La Salle made a stop and Quiambao sealed the victory, finishing with 18 points and 9 rebounds.
Nonoy also stepped up with 15 points on three three-pointers. CJ Austria scored 10 points and grabbed four rebounds. Nelle had nine points, seven assists and four rebounds, while Michael Phillips had eight goals and 14 boards.
La Salle coach Derrick Pumaren was relieved to finally get one win over UP since losing the season opener and falling out of the playoffs in a heartbreaking final last season. The win also tied his team with Adamson for fourth place at 5-6.
“I guess I have to give it to the guys. Proud of the way we played today. We went down by 12 points, but we still came back and at the start of the game I spoke to them… We can beat UP, but we can only beat them if we play as a team, have that collective effort, everyone is doing their part goals,” said Pumaren.
“We know they are No. 1 team, we know they’re playing good basketball, so we’ve got to play good basketball, too, and defensively we’ve got to stop.”
The Fighting Maroons saw their seven-game winning streak come to an end as the Green Archers also kept them from at least making the playoffs by a two-time advantage, sliding to a 10-2 record.
Zavier Lucero led the way with 15 points and six rebounds. Carl Tamayo had 14 points and 7 rebounds, James Spencer had 12 points, 6 boards and four assists, while Malick Diouf added 11 points and 11 rebounds.
LA SALLE 82 — Quiambao 18, Nonoy 15, Austria 10, Nelle 9, M. Phillips 8, Abadam 8, B. Phillips 5, Nwankwo 5, Macalalag 4, Estacio 0, Cortez 0.
UP 80 – Lucero 15, Tamayo 14, Spencer 12, Diouf 11, Cagulangan 8, Alarcon 8, Gonzalez 4, Galinato 4, Calimag 4, Abadiano 0, Ramos 0.
Quarters: 14-18, 35-41, 59-63, 82-80.
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