Not wanting to suffer the same fate twice, De La Salle University avenged its first round loss with a 66-59 victory over the University of the East Red Warriors in the UAAP Season 82 Men’s Basketball Tournament at the SM Mall of Asia Arena, Wednesday.
Justine Baltazar held the fort for the Green Archers with 23 points, 12 rebounds. The Kapampangan slotman played big in the endgame, scoring 10 in the last eight minutes where the Taft side turned the game around with a 10-3 blast that flipped a 49-47 deficit to a 57-52 advantage in the final 3:50.
La Salle improved to a 5-5 win-loss slate.
“Swerte kami that we were able to pull through,” said coach Gian Nazario, as seven of his players — including Baltazar — were down with the flu prior to the game.
“We’re happy that we were able to pull this win out. We really needed this one.”
Jamie Malonzo added 12 points, six rebounds, and three steals, while Serrano produced 12 points, four assists, and two steals.
The Green Archers got back their 89-88 defeat at the hands of the Red Warriors in the first round last Sept. 14.
Still, UE made sure La Salle earned this win, with Alex Diakhite trimming the lead to 61-59 with 1:16 remaining.
Encho Serrano first responded with a drive for the Green Archers. La Salle then forced Rey Suerte and Diakhite to turn the ball over in the final minute to lock down the victory.
Suerte could not repeat his magnificent outing against La Salle, leading UE with 17 points, four rebounds, and four assists.
Diakhite also tallied 11 points and 20 rebounds, as the Red Warriors dropped to 3-8.
La Salle will try to sustain its momentum when they face the FEU Tamaraws on Saturday, October 19 at 4:00 pm. UE, meanwhile, looks to end its skid on Sunday, October 20, against the league-leading Ateneo Blue Eagles at 2:00 pm.
DLSU 65 — Baltazar 23, Malonzo 12, Serrano 12, Bates 9, Melecio 4, Manuel 3, Caracut 2, Cagulangan 0, Cu 0, Lim 0.
UE 59 — Suerte 17, Manalang 14, Diakhite 11, Conner 9, Mendoza 7, Apacible 1, Antiporda 0, Beltran 0, Camacho 0, Cruz 0, Pagsanjan 0, Tolentino 0.
Quarterscores: 14-13, 26-28, 42-46, 65-59.