De La Salle University showed its form, routing a lethargic Far Eastern University with a 65-49 win, to open Group B competition in the 2022 Filoil Ecooil Premier Cup, Saturday in San Juan City.
The Green Archers, who are also playing in the PBA D-League, raced to a 15-8 start and a 31-15 lead with just three minutes left in the first half. Jcee Macalalag, Michael Phillips, and Bright Nwanko all had a hand in not only putting up the buckets for La Salle but also putting the clamps on FEU.
“Our bread and butter is our defense, especially in the halfcourt. That’s what we were able to do,” said Green Archers head coach Derrick Pumaren.
Though the Tamaraws were able to gain the lead, 34-33, after an L-Jay Gonzales bucket three minutes into the second half, Raven Cortez powered a 16-5 run to close out the third canto en route to the rout.
“Ang sabi ni coach na hindi puwede mawala yung focus. Yan nangyari last season. We need to close out games well,” said Phillips.
Macalalag, a homegrown Green Archer from La Salle Greenhills, had a sensational debut, tallying 12 points on 4-of-5 shooting from both the field and the line.
Foreign student-athlete Bright Nwanko got 14 points and seven boards while Phillips tallied 12 points and 11 rebounds. Cortez also shone with five points and nine rebounds.
Evan Nelle and Mark Nonoy also played in the contest with the former producing two points on 1-of-9 shooting, three rebounds, and three assists while the latter tallying seven points on 2-of-11 shooting with three steals, three rebounds, and two assists.
“They were not able to play in the D-League dahil they came in late. They had to into our system before they got the go-signal to play,” said Pumaren. “Evan and Mark are still off-timing but with the games we our playing, they will get into shape. Ang computation ko we have 20 to 25 games with the D-League which will help us.”
Gonzales led the way for FEU with 10 points, three rebounds, three assists, and two steals while Bryan Sajonia also scored 10 markers.
La Salle returns to Preseason Cup action on Sunday, July 31, going up against San Beda University. FEU, meanwhile, faces Lyceum of the Philippines University on Monday at 11:00 AM.
DLSU 65 — Nwankwo 14, M. Phillips 12, Macalalag 12, Cortez 8, Nonoy 7, Manuel 5, Austria 3, Nelle 2, Abadam 2, Escandor 0, Buensalida 0, Alao 0, Estacio 0.
FEU 49 — Gonzales 10, Sajonia 10, Alforque 6, Songcuya 6, Bautista 5, Tempra 3, Torres 3, Sandagon 2, Sleat 2, Faty 2, Gravera 0, Guibao 0, Rosete 0, Dulatre 0.
Quarterscores: 15-8, 31-24, 51-38, 65-49.
The entire 2022 Filoil Ecooil Preseason Cup will stream LIVE on Smart Sports Facebook page