By Denise Valdez
The UP Fighting Maroons failed to repeat last season’s first round upset of the DLSU Green Archers as they lost 89-71 at the Araneta Coliseum, Saturday, Sept. 10.
The Diliman-based cagers struggled on the defensive end, giving up 54 combined points for DLSU’s Ben Mbala (30), Abu Tratter (12) and Jeron Teng (12). Scoring for UP heavily depended on consistent swingman Paul Desiderio who totaled 21 points, followed by veteran Jett Manuel’s 13.
The collective shooting percentages of both teams were close, however – with DLSU at 49% and UP at 44%.
The game remained in favor of DLSU from start to finish, with UP tying the game only once during the first quarter at 13-all. The lead ballooned up to 28 points towards the fourth quarter, but was gradually trimmed up to 14 points after a jumper from Manuel on the last three minutes of the game. The duel ended with an 18-point lead for DLSU.
UP’s big men Andrew Harris and Jerson Prado were unable to stop the relentless shooting of DLSU from inside the paint, as reflected in the Archers’ 46 points from down low. The Maroons continued to dwell on their perimeter shooting and fell flat towards the end – with 20 points from outside in the first half and only two in the second half.
The Maroons also failed to maximize their chances off DLSU’s turnovers as the Archers took advantage of theirs – scoring 34 points off turnovers compared to UP’s 10.
DLSU’s starters greatly edged out UP on offense with 65 starter points compared to a measly 38 from the Maroons. Although UP had 33 points off the bench , DLSU was not far behind with 24.
Coach Bo Perasol commended his big men for their efforts on defense despite Mbala scoring all over them.
“Despite the mismatches ‘dun sa personnel, I think the effort was really there,” said Perasol.
“There was no question we got outplayed totally by La Salle,” he added, and said that beating La Salle was not their agenda in the first place. “Our agenda, really, was to prepare ourselves for the games that we can win.”
UP now falls to 0-2 to start the season – tied with the University of the East for last place in the overall men’s basketball ranking.