For the first time in three years, the Adamson University Soaring Falcons finally enjoyed a victory over the De La Salle University Green Archers.
The Soaring Falcons banked on Sean Manganti and Papi Sarr’s double-doubles to overcome the Green Archers, who in turn were led by spitfire guard Aljun Melecio’s 18 points and eight rebounds, Saturday afternoon at the Smart Araneta Coliseum in Quezon City.
“Normal naman. Hindi naman namin iniisip yung first loss namin (vs Adamson) after (three) years. Normal lang talaga pagkatalo,” commented the De La Salle Zobel alumnus.
The signs were already there for La Salle right from tip-off. The Soaring Falcons limited the Green Archers to just two points in the first quarter – both of which came from Joaqui Manuel’s free throws. While plays were being executed, La Salle simply failed to sink shots.
“Point blank shots lang siguro eh. Yun yung mga na-miss namin mas lalo na sa free throws namin,” rued the Season 79 Men’s Basketball Rookie of the Year, who was referring to the Green Archers’ dismal 26.09 percent shooting from the field, as well as their nine missed free throws.
From their first round loss to the Ateneo Blue Eagles, La Salle played three straight games with only two days rest in between each. But Melecio refused to use the scheduling as a reason for the loss.
“Yung mga point-blank shots (talaga),” emphasized the 5-foot-7 court general.
The result leaves La Salle in the pack chasing a Final Four place with a 5-4 record. Facing the Far Eastern University Tamaraws next, Melecio knows that he and the rest of the Green Archers are in for another tight battle.
The Bukidnon native said, “Gusto namin manalo every game. Kuha kami ng panalo, kung ilan yung kaya namin makuha. Yun lang.
“One game at a time.”
And for the Green Archers to get back on track at the Tamaraws’ expense, La Salle’s top gunner knows what his team needed to do.
“Execution pa rin naman eh. Kahit natalo kami ngayon, stick pa rin kami sa kung ano yung meron kami.”