De La Salle University aced the tough test put up by St. Clare College of Caloocan with an 83-74 decision on Thursday at Filoil EcoOil Centre in San Juan, sweeping its Group II assignments in the 2023 Filoil EcoOil Preseason Cup.
The battle between the top two teams in their group lived up to the billing as they were tied at 62-all early in the final frame. The Green Archers then uncorked eight unanswered points, taking a 70-62 lead with under six minutes to go.
The Saints, however, kept coming and closed the gap to just two points, 72-74, with 2:34 remaining. But Jonnel Policarpio’s five straight points led a 9-2 finishing kick for La Salle.
“They made the right stops in the end. St. Clare gave us a good fight, but thankfully, they played together in the end,” said head coach Topex Robinson, who made an appearance in the post-game interview even after getting ejected at the 3:11 mark of the third period for receiving his second technical foul.
Policarpio finished with nine points, while Mark Nonoy added 22 points and Kevin Quiambao contributed 17 points, five assists, and four rebounds. This win marked their ninth victory in as many games, securing the top seed out of Group II for the quarterfinals. It also left the erstwhile second-running Saints in a virtual tie for the second spot.
“Sa amin, we always try to be the best version of ourselves. Winning is gonna be the byproduct of what we’re doing,” said Robinson, as they now await the start of the next round on June 16.
Megan Galang led St. Clare with 17 points, including five three-pointers. They now turn their attention to crucial contests against National University, Ateneo de Manila University, and the University of the Philippines.
Meanwhile, Far Eastern University spoiled Jerom Lastimosa’s return to Adamson University in the premiere preseason tournament supported by Filoil, EcoOil, Hanes, Akari, Reyes BBQ, BDO, Kalos Sportswear, and Molten with a convincing 77-63 victory.
Cholo Anonuevo led the Tamaraws’ charge with 21 points, 10 rebounds, five assists, and three steals, while Janrey Pasaol contributed 16 points, five assists, three steals, and two rebounds. The victory brought FEU’s standing in Group II to 3-3.
“Ilang games na rin kaming struggling kaya nag-usap-usap kaming kailangan nilang maging accountable,” said head coach Denok Miranda after their rude welcome for Lastimosa, who was in blue-and-white for the first time since winning a gold medal with Gilas Pilipinas Men in the 32nd Southeast Asian Games.
Lastimosa actually steered the Soaring Falcons to an 18-22 lead midway through the second quarter before Anonuevo scored four points in a 12-1 run that erased FEU’s 30-23 edge right before halftime.
Anonuevo answered the call again when Adamson last threatened at 47-50 late in the third quarter, with his three-pointer igniting an 8-0 rush that re-established a 58-47 Tamaraw advantage. That double-digit margin held strong, leading to their third win in the last four games.
“Lagi kaming strong start ta’s bumibigay e, pero napakita nila yung character naming ‘di naggi-give up ngayong game,” said Miranda.
Lastimosa topped the scoring column for Adamson with 12 points and three rebounds as they dropped to 3-4.
Lyceum of the Philippines kept pace in the Group I quarterfinals race after routing Emilio Aguinaldo College by 34 points, with a final score of 102-78.
Jae Omandac had the hot hand, scoring 31 points, including nine three-pointers, along with five rebounds, four assists, and three steals, leading the Pirates to their fourth consecutive victory and fifth overall in seven games.
Enoch Valdez contributed 11 points, seven rebounds, two assists, and two steals as they remained entrenched in the four-team logjam at the second spot.
“I always remind the players na yung mga opportunity na dumadating, you have to grab it. Wag nilang sasayangin,” said head coach Gilbert Malabanan. “Tulad ng last season, ngayon, gusto kong unpredictable kami. ‘Di mo alam kung sinong puputok para sa’min.”
In another NCAA contest in Group I, San Beda University added to the misery of winless Arellano University with a 78-65 victory.
Bryan Sajonia scored 17 points and grabbed six rebounds, while Richi Calimag contributed 14 points and three rebounds.
The Red Lions roared back into the win column, now with a record of 3-4.
“Yung growth and development talaga yung priority namin here. Yung results, of course we want to win, that’ll just follow,” said assistant coach Andrei Santos, filling in for Yuri Escueta.
The 2-4 Generals were paced by 11 points from Brianne Angeles, while the 0-7 Chiefs were led by 14 points and six rebounds from Jade Talampas.
Lyceum 102 – Omandac 31, Valdez 11, Villegas 11, Barba 11, Penafiel 9, Montano 8, Cunanan 7, Umali 6, Moralejo 4, Versoza 2, Aviles 2, Caduyac 0, Garro 0, Daileg 0
EAC 78 – Angeles 11, Gurtiza 10, Maguliano 10, Cosejo 9, Cosa 8, Luciano 5, Robin 5, Balowa 5, Ochavo 4, Villaflor 4, Tolentino 3, Dominguez 2, Umpad 2, Doria 0, Ednilag 0
Quarterscores: 20-16, 53-42, 87-56, 102-78
FEU 77 – Anonuevo 21, Pasaol 16, Felipe 10, Sleat 7, Bagunu 6, Faty 4, Torres 4, Macapagal 4, Ona 4, Buenaventura 1, Montemayor 0, Songcuya 0
Adamson 63 – Lastimosa 12, Manzano 10, Barasi 6, Ramos 6, Erolon 6, Montebon 5, Hanapi 5, Colonia 4, Magbuhos 3, Canete 3, Calisay 2, Ignacio 1, Fuentebella 0, Anabo 0 Sicat 0
Quarterscores: 12-15, 36-34, 58-51, 77-63
San Beda 78 – Sajonia 17, Calimag 14, Payosing 11, Royo 11, Alloso 7, Tagle 6, Etulle 6, Tagala 4, Visser 2, Teruel 0, Dimaculangan 0
Arellano 65 – Talampas 14, Valencia 11, Bagay 9, Abastillas 8, Sunga 8, Mallari 4, Villarente 4, Oftana 3, Camay 2, Rosalin 2, Domingo 0, Anama 0, Dela Cruz 0
Quarterscores: 18-18, 40-34, 52-51, 78-65
La Salle 83 – Nonoy 22, Quiambao 17, David 9, Policarpio 9, M Phillips 7, Abadam 6, Cortez 4, Escandor 2, Gollena 2, Nwankwo 2, Manuel 2, Austria 1, Estacio 0, B Phillips 0
St. Clare 74 – Galang 17, Sual 13, Acosta 12, Estacio 10, Kane 10, Ndong 7, Tapenio 3, Victoriano 2, Decano 0, Angeles 0
Quarterscores: 18-20, 40-38, 57-57, 83-74