De La Salle University dominated another UAAP powerhouse, National University, with a score of 107-86, remaining undefeated in six games in Group II of the 2023 Filoil Ecooil Preseason Cup on Monday in San Juan.
Kevin Quiambao continued his impressive preseason performance with 22 points and four assists, while Mark Nonoy contributed 16 points, four rebounds, two assists, and two steals.
Mike Phillips and Bright Nwankwo also combined for 22 points and nine rebounds.
“Our key to beat NU was to really outwork them. Yun naman yung nakita namin kanina,” said head coach Topex Robinson after adding the Bulldogs to their list of victims which also includes University of the Philippines.
NU remained competitive, trailing by just four points, 15-19, early on, until La Salle embarked on an 11-2 surge, capped off by a Phillips slam, giving them a 30-17 edge. The lead and momentum remained with the green-and-white team as they once again showcased their depth, boasting a 66-45 advantage in bench points.
The Bulldogs were led by foreign student-athlete Omar John, who contributed 17 points and nine rebounds in their loss following an opening win in the tournament.
Meanwhile, Kurt Reyson stepped up and Colegio de San Juan de Letran prevailed over archrival San Beda University with a score of 72-64, moving them to solo second in Group I.
Overcoming a six-point halftime deficit, the Knights frustrated their fierce rivals and secured back-to-back wins, bringing their record to 4-1 in Group I.
“I’m very happy kasi for the last ilang games, ‘di kami nananalo sa San Beda. Although Team B nila ‘to, still, San Beda yan. At the end of the day, kung sino nanalo, masaya,” said coach Rensy Bajar, refererring their defeats in the D-League as well as NCAA Season 98 men’s basketball.
The Red Lions had only eight players available due to injuries and academic reasons.
Trailing by two points, 54-56, entering the final quarter, the three-peat NCAA champions went on a 13-2 run to seize the lead at 67-58 with three minutes remaining.
San Beda closed the gap to five, 62-67, with under two minutes to go, but Reyson converted on a layup and a free throw to keep them at bay.
“I’m very happy kasi for the last ilang games, ‘di kami nananalo sa San Beda. Although Team B nila ‘to, still, San Beda yan. At the end of the day, kung sino nanalo, masaya,” said Bajar after claiming solo second. Reyson, a fourth-year guard, scored 20 points and contributed eight assists, two rebounds, and two steals.
Deo Cuajao added 15 points, and Joseph Nunag scored 12 points.
On the other hand, Zane Jalbuena led the shorthanded Red Lions with 17 points, seven rebounds, four assists, and three blocks as they dropped to 1-3.
St. Clare College of Caloocan maintained its position at the top of Group II standings by defeating Centro Escolar University 65-55.
Ryan Sual stepped up with 23 points and six rebounds, taking charge in place of struggling lead guard Jimboy Estrada.
Megan Galang and Luiz Tapenio also contributed 11 and 10 points, respectively, in the Saints’ fourth win in five games in the premiere preseason tournament sponsored by Filoil, EcoOil, Hanes, Akari, Reyes BBQ, BDO, Kalos Sportswear, and Molten.
“Ang mahalaga sa’min dito is yung dulo e. Past two games namin, medyo nag-relax kami, so sabi ko lang sa mga bata, kailangang mag-execute kami. Malaking bagay na may nag-step up sa mga bata,” said head coach Jinino Manansala as they survived a silent outing from Estrada who wound up with seven points in just eight minutes.
Jayson Puray was the lone player in double-digits for the 1-4 Scorpions with 11 points and five rebounds.
Also at the top half of the leaderboard, this time in Group I, is College of St. Benilde which improved to 4-2 at the expense of winless Arellano University, 94-83.
Robi Nayve topped the scoring column for the Blazers with 19 points on top of eight assists and four rebounds, as Migs Oczon chimed in 19 points, five rebounds, and four assists of his own for them to power through the continued absences of Will Gozum and Miggy Corteza due to injuries.
Still, head coach Charles Tiu was far from satisfied with his wards’ performance.
“I don’t think we played too well today. I’d say we’re lucky to have escaped with the win. That’s something we have to address,” he said, as they allowed the Chiefs to creep to as close as two, 71-73, early in the final frame.
From there, though, Nayve sparked a 12-2 charge that widened their margin back to double-digits at 85-75 inside the last four minutes.
Lars Sunga starred in a losing effort for Arellano with 24 points, while Axel Doromal chipped in 16 points, five rebounds, and five steals.
St. Clare 65 – Sual 23, Galang 11, Tapenio 10, Estacio 9, Estrada 7, Yanes 2, Decano 2, Ndong 1, Acosta 0, Victoriano 0, Cabauatan 0, Kane 0, Yu 0
CEU 55 – Puray 11, Balogun 9, Santos 8, Bernabe 8, Tolentino 5, Anagbogu 5, Darbin 3, Penano 2, Malicana 2, Borromeo 2, Marcelo 2, Diaz 0, Joson 0, Ferrer 0, Reyes 0
Quarterscores: 16-19, 32-32, 47-43, 65-55
Benilde 94 – Nayve 19, Oczon 19, Carlos 12, Mara 10, Arciaga 7, Jarque 5, Flores 5, Lepalam 4, Sangco 3, Sumabat 3, Marasigan 2, Serrano 2, Turco 2, Vanguardia 1, Cajucom 0
Arellano 83 – Sunga 24, Doromal 16, Bagay 13, Dela Cruz 7, Valencia 6, Anama 4, Oftana 4, Abastillas 4, Villarente 2, Camay 2, Mallari 1, Rosalin 0, Antonio 0, Domingo 0, Lustina 0
Quarterscores: 28-21, 52-41, 73-67, 94-83
Letran 72 – Reyson 20, Cuajao 15, Nunag 12, Javillonar 7, Alarcon 5, Brillantes 5, Guarino 3, Tolentino 3, Ariar 2, Fajardo 0, Santos 0, Nunag 0
San Beda 64 – Jalbuena 17, Alloso 13, Sajonia 15, Lina 6, Royo 4, Tagala 3, Etulle 3, Teruel 3
Quarterscores: 14-16, 28-34, 54-56, 72-64
La Salle 107 – Quiambao 22, Nonoy 16, M. Phillips 12, Nwankwo 10, David 8, Escandor 7, Gollena 7, Nelle 6, Cortez 4, Estacio 4, B. Phillips 3, Melencio 3, Policarpio 2, Abadam 2, Manuel 1
NU 86 – John 17, Baclaan 12, Enriquez 10, Yu 10, Figueroa 8, Manansala 8, Jumamoy 8, Gulapa 6, Clemente 4, Palacielo 3, Malonzo 0, Perciano 0, Lim 0, Colonia 0
Quarterscores: 30-19, 53-42, 81-71, 107-86