Photo by Maegan Gaspar

Text by Denver Del Rosario

The University of the Philippines (UP) Fighting Maroons suffered another setback at the hands of De La Salle University (DLSU) Green Archers, 62-85, today in the UAAP men’s basketball tournament at the Filoil Flying V Centre.

The Maroons failed to repeat its first round victory over the Archers, who played amazing offense and defense from the get-go.

DLSU was successful in having big man Ben Mbala defend UP skipper Paul Desiderio, who only registered seven points and a dismal 15% shooting success rate.

The Diliman team started strong in the opening salvo with Jarrell Lim and Javi Gomez de Liano scoring from downtown to take the lead, 9-4.

However, the Taft squad responded in the last few minutes with treys of their own, courtesy of returning player Aljun Melecio and Jolo Go who gave their team the lead, 24-14, to end the first quarter.

The Archers continued its rampage in the second canto, capitalizing on the Maroons’ turnovers and fouls. The Taft squad held a comfortable 24-point lead by halftime, 51-27, courtesy of Mbala’s charity shots and Ricci Rivero from inside the paint.

Jun Manzo tried to uplift the Diliman team with a 13-point blast in the third quarter. However, the deficit was too big as the Archers still held the driver’s seat, 65-45.

It was all downhill from the Maroons as DLSU maintained aggressive in their offense and defense.

Ibrahim Ouattara tried to do some last-minute heroics by registering eight points in the final frame, but the Archers ultimately went away with the game with a 23-point lead, marking UP’s biggest margin of loss this season.

Mbala and Ricci Rivero led the onslaught for the Taft squad with 27 and 20 points, respectively.

On the other hand, Manzo was the lone Maroon scoring double digits with 13 points, all from the third quarter.

UP coach Bo Perasol admitted the lack of drive from his team, especially in the first two quarters.

“You cannot have a chance against powerhouse DLSU if you don’t bring your best game.” Perasol said. “We weren’t able to shoot, and hindi talaga namin nagawan ng solusyon.”

Desiderio took blame for the loss as he was caught off guard with DLSU’s tactic of Mbala defending him.

“Pagdating nung second quarter, wala talaga akong choice kundi bantayan si Ben,” he said. “Napagod din ako.”

With the loss, UP rests at fifth place with a 4-5 win-loss record.

UP will attempt to go back to its winning ways against the University of the East Red Warriors on Sunday.


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