By: David Tristan Yumol
MANILA – The University of the Philippines fell flat anew today to a tall and talented De La Salle University, 65-86, in the UAAP Season 77 Seniors’ cage wars at the Mall of Asia Arena.
The Fighting Maroons were heavily outlasted by the Green Archers in rebounds (36-52), bench points (11-27) and inside points (24-38) to taste their first back-to-back setbacks since ending their 27-game losing slump on August 9.
JR Gallarza led the outing for the Diliman-based squad with 18 points while Mikee Reyes added 14 points.
Almond Vosotros waxed hot for the Taft-based dribblers with 21 points, 15 of which are from the three-point area. Jeron Teng chipped in 15 points and Jason Perkins notched a double-double with 13 points and 11 boards to send La Salle to its seventh consecutive win after a 0-2 start early in the season.
“In the first half, we were competing for every possession. But we had a defensive breakdown in the second half. Their helpside defense capped it all,” UP head coach Rey Madrid said.
UP fought gallantly in the first half even though they are trailing with a narrow margin, as their veterans Reyes and Gallarza converted most of their shots.
Mark Juruena also provided relief in the offensive end, scoring a trey in the middle of the second quarter to decrease the lead of DLSU to just one, 25-26.
But La Salle resist to give up the lead to UP with the nifty baskets from Teng and Perkins to still maintain the lead, 34-40, after 20 minutes of action.
DLSU used their might against UP in the second half, especially in the third canto, where they forced the Diliman-based squad to foul them seven times and shot 10 out of 13 at the free-throw line.
The Juno Sauler-mentored squad also took advantage of the offensive collapse of UP in that quarter with the latter only scoring 19 points as compared to the former’s 28 points.
La Salle tightened its offensive and defensive might in the final quarter, with slot man Arnold Van Opstal notching eight of his 12 points here.
They also limited UP to 12 points in the final canto in which most of the latter’s three-point attempts fell short.
“We failed to maintain how we did in the first half. Unfortunately, they caught us in the second half,” Gallarza said.
The Maroons will next face the University of Santo Tomas Growling Tigers on Wednesday, 2 PM, at the Mall of Asia Arena.
DLSU (86): Vosotros 21, Teng 15, Perkins 13, Van Opstal 12, Tratter 7, Sargent 6, Montalbo 4, Torres 4, Andrada 2
UP (65): Gallarza 18, Reyes 14, Moralde 11, Juruena 9, Asilum 5, Gingerich 2, Vito 2, Gonzales 2, Harris 2
Quarter Scores: 20-15, 40-34, 68-53, 86-65