SAN JUAN City – Defending champion De La Salle University held University of the East scoreless in the final three minutes for a 77-71 victory Sunday (June 4) in the main game of the 11th FilOil Flying V Premier Cup at the FilOil Flying V Centre. The win kept the Green Archers in the hunt for a spot in the quarterfinals later this month with four wins against two losses.
Alvin Pasaol’s free throw at the 3:02 mark proved to be UE’s last hurrah as the DLSU defense clamped down on the Warriors forcing them into a series of missed shots and turnovers. Andrei Caracut drove to the hoop and Aljun Melecio canned a triple with 1:25 to play that restored the lead to the Green Archers for good, 74-71.
UE sued for time but they failed to score in the ensuing possession resulting in a close stab by Justine Baltazar, 76-71 and 51 ticks on the clock. After another timeout, the Warriors again failed to find the basket as their three field goal attempts missed, forcing them to send Baltazar to the free throw line for one more charity and the final tally.
“Baltazar has nowhere to go but up, he has a lot of potential,” said Coach Aldin Ayo. “The players did not play their game but others like Baltazar stepped up and we showed the depth of our bench today.”
The young big man had outstanding numbers of 15 points, three rebounds and three blocks. Melecio fired four triples for a total of 14 points and three assists.
Also performing well for the Green Archers were Ricci Rivero with 13 points and Leonard Santillan with 12 points and 14 rebounds. The performances of Baltazar and Santillan made up for the relatively low output of Benoit Mbala who could only muster nine points and seven rebounds in 15 minutes.
Pasaol led UE with 30 points and nine rebounds but it was not enough to prevent them from taking their fifth loss in seven games. Mark Olayon followed with 13 points.
The Green Archers will next play their bitter archrival Ateneo de Manila University on June 11. After that, they wind up their elimination campaign against Letran on June 16.
How They Scored:
DE LA SALLE (77) – Baltazar 15, Melecio 14, R. Rivero 13, Santillan 12, Mbala 9, Caracut 6, Tratter 4, Tero 4, Go 0, Gonzales 0.
EAST (71) – Pasaol 30, Olayon 13, Acuno 6, Maloles 5, Conner 4, V. Magbuhos 4, Cruz 2, Varilla 2, Derige 2, Manalang 2, Cullar 1, Abanto 0, Bartolome 0.
Period Scores: 11-20, 33-31, 55-55, 77-71.